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aikijean
07-02-2014, 03:40 PM
In a another thread somebody talked about demonstrating aiki on a uke. Is it the same thing than demonstrating aikido on a uke ?
And if it is not the same, can somebody explain the difference to me ?

PeterR
07-02-2014, 03:56 PM
Did we train together about 20 years ago - name is familiar.

Some people say you can apply aiki to all aikido techniques to make them more effective but I would say that the majority of techniques we study under the aikido umbrella are just jujutsu techniques. Those that use aiki in their execution are just a sub-set and more to the point one can only see/feel aiki when two forces (tori/uke) come together.

I would have great trouble demonstrating what aiki is.

JP3
07-02-2014, 08:29 PM
I would say that one could demonstrate aiki in almost all aikido techniques... but it usually isn't.

aikijean
07-03-2014, 12:29 PM
To Peter

Yes, we know each other from the days you were a aikido teacher at Cegep de Limoilou in Québec City.I have practice a couple of times at your dojo and you came at our dojo if I remember correctly to teach a class. Our "styles" were different but we manage to learn from each other.

Your answer at my question is about the same way I think.

hughrbeyer
07-03-2014, 12:31 PM
I disagree with Peter. I think one of the things O-Sensei did in creating Aikido was to eliminate a bunch of techniques and refine others so they all became vehicles for practicing and expressing aiki. Since this skill was passed on to the next generation only very spottily, much of what we see in Aikido has devolved back to jujitsu.

As to what aiki is, that's a big debate. For me, and I think my perspective is similar to that in the post referenced by the OP, aiki is the joining of the two kis of yin and yang at the point of contact to eliminate conflict. As O-Sensei said when asked by his students why they couldn't do what he did, "It's because you do not understand yin and yang."

aikijean
07-03-2014, 01:23 PM
I don't want to put gaz on the fire but according to the "IP guys" the aikido that I do for a long time now is not really aikido because I don't have the aikibody, the body that O'Sensei had when he was doing his thing.Is respecting the basics principles enough that I can call what I do aikido ?Is it just jujutsu with love ?
I will probably never put my hands on a person who is using or teaching the famous body, so there is my questioning about demonstrating aiki or aikido on a uke.

hughrbeyer
07-03-2014, 01:34 PM
Who are you asking? And why?

If you're asking me, and there's no particular reason why you should care what I think, if you're learning Aikido from an Aikido teacher whose lineage goes back to O-Sensei in some fashion, you're doing Aikido. Your challenge is to make your Aikido as good as it can be. To do that, regardless of who your teacher is, there's a lot of value to getting out and practicing with a bunch of different people from different lineages.

Chris Li
07-03-2014, 01:50 PM
I don't want to put gaz on the fire but according to the "IP guys" the aikido that I do for a long time now is not really aikido because I don't have the aikibody, the body that O'Sensei had when he was doing his thing.Is respecting the basics principles enough that I can call what I do aikido ?Is it just jujutsu with love ?
I will probably never put my hands on a person who is using or teaching the famous body, so there is my questioning about demonstrating aiki or aikido on a uke.

My anwser would be similar to Hugh's. "AIkido" means a lot of things these days - there are probably things that you're not doing, and will never do, unless you meet people who can teach them to you. The same would hold true for me, FWIW. What you have to decide is what's important to you and what you want to do.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
07-03-2014, 03:47 PM
To Peter

Yes, we know each other from the days you were a aikido teacher at Cegep de Limoilou in Québec City.I have practice a couple of times at your dojo and you came at our dojo if I remember correctly to teach a class. Our "styles" were different but we manage to learn from each other.

Your answer at my question is about the same way I think.

Yes I remember - Quebec city had some good groups. That was quite awhile ago so forgive me if my memory for names was a little unsure.

jonreading
07-08-2014, 12:48 PM
I may have been that guy...

One of the things causing me grief these days is the inconsistent ability to "do" aikido. I have broken down things to try to better understand where the "doing" part happens. In that respect, I have consolidated around the concept of "expressing/demonstrating aiki" and demonstrating a practical application of aiki, "demonstrating aikido." Essentially, I am just talking about technique done with aiki. But, I believe that aiki is real and been shown, which is not what everyone else thinks. I also believe many of us are not actually using aiki in our technique.

We can demonstrate aiki without framing that demonstration in a practical application (aikido). The most common demonstration I can think of is a push test. Or a pull test. The old guys did these a lot when they shared aikido with other arts. Pushing heads, jos, arms, etc. Mochizuki did these alot with judo players and there is a good clip of Sunadomari doing it in his friendship demo. Tohei, O Sensei, Shioda. They all did demonstrations that had these types of elements. I believe these sihan were showing aiki without the facade of technique to hide what they were doing.

The point that I was getting at was that we (aikido people) should be able to show someone "aiki" in a variety of different ways so spectators could see aikido without risk of injury. My unspoken comment was that maybe we don't understand aiki as well as we think if we only have a limited manner in which we can share what we do. Any jujutsu girl can show you an armbar and hurt you in the process - how do we separate ourselves if we cannot show aikido without hurting someone?

When we demonstrate aikido, we pick a collection of techniques in which we excel in expressing aiki and we present those techniques as an example of what aikido can do. But, I think sometimes we use kata to mask the lack of aiki. If I do good jujutsu kata, how is that dissimilar from good aikido kata? Hopefully, not much different. If I know someone will fall down from good jujutsu, who is to say my demonstration is not just good jujutsu? It has to be felt. Back to the practical idea of demonstrating aiki on someone with technique... How can we just pull someone out of the crowd to feel it if we are going to hurt them?

Oddly, I started thinking about this several years ago when our shihan, Saotome sensei, stopped teaching kata. Most of his seminars now are aiki "tricks." the centipede ukes, no touch throws, push throws... I think he felt that "kata" was getting in the way of "aiki". While I don't have the newest ASU handbook, I am pretty sure "centipede nage waza" is not part of the curriculum on which we test. I believe sensei is trying to show us the real motor that drives his techniques.

I think our collection of techniques were created for a common theme - the practical application of aiki. When you have the aikibody, the themes tend to constantly exist throughout movement. Is it different than modern aikido? Yes. But not everyone wants that. I also talked about aikido's tent size - there is a lot of variation in aikido and each one has some value to those who practice it.

Rupert Atkinson
07-08-2014, 06:22 PM
I may have been that guy...

One of the things causing me grief these days is the inconsistent ability to "do" aikido. I have broken down things to try to better understand where the "doing" part happens. In that respect, I have consolidated around the concept of "expressing/demonstrating aiki" and demonstrating a practical application of aiki, "demonstrating aikido." Essentially, I am just talking about technique done with aiki. But, I believe that aiki is real and been shown, which is not what everyone else thinks. I also believe many of us are not actually using aiki in our technique.


I agree. But I think kata is still important to learn basic shapes - even for high grades. The shapes we have - the katas if you like - are like a library. We go in there, take a look, pull something out, and practice it. But too much kata takes you further from aiki, not closer. The better you get at kata, the more rigid you become, especially if you beleive it HAS to be done THIS way and ONLY this way. But we still need to maintain connection to kata as who is to say we are right anyway. And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.

We need to constantly review the source - kata - and then put aiki into those kata to - give them life. The takemusu of it, to me, is the escape from kata. Some people seem to think takemusu is randori or jyuu-waza. Not me. Takemusu for me is adding life to dead kata, in a kind of random, yet, predictable way. It is what mainstream Aikikai Aikido is. This is the main difference beween say, Aikido and Daito Ryu (totally fixed kata). Going back to randori or jyu-waza - most that I see just seems to be kata performed in a random way, like in a dfferent order.

Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.

jonreading
07-09-2014, 12:00 PM
I agree. But I think kata is still important to learn basic shapes - even for high grades. The shapes we have - the katas if you like - are like a library. We go in there, take a look, pull something out, and practice it. But too much kata takes you further from aiki, not closer. The better you get at kata, the more rigid you become, especially if you beleive it HAS to be done THIS way and ONLY this way. But we still need to maintain connection to kata as who is to say we are right anyway. And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.

We need to constantly review the source - kata - and then put aiki into those kata to - give them life. The takemusu of it, to me, is the escape from kata. Some people seem to think takemusu is randori or jyuu-waza. Not me. Takemusu for me is adding life to dead kata, in a kind of random, yet, predictable way. It is what mainstream Aikikai Aikido is. This is the main difference beween say, Aikido and Daito Ryu (totally fixed kata). Going back to randori or jyu-waza - most that I see just seems to be kata performed in a random way, like in a dfferent order.

Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.

Yes, I am definitely in the camp of "you need a vessel in which to pour water." I think this is complicated because I am currently of the mind that some of the aikido curriculum has been distorted over the years as external "fixes" have been applied to the gaps created by not practicing internal training. While not wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I think it fair to be cautious evaluating the kata to make sure it is what we should be doing (in order to prevent un-learning it later).

Janet Rosen
07-09-2014, 02:22 PM
And, in my opinion, if we teach, we should not immediately start teaching the aiki-ness before they learn the kata, or instead of the kata. But that is what many do. I say - Kata first, then add aiki. You can`t add aiki to bad technique.
.

I actually think that they can and should be taught simultaneously. As we do where I train with the Tohei Sensei ki warmups that mimic the form of the kata movements (and that can also be used as solo training if one figures out how to do that...) why NOT also teach slow, basic exercises to beginners, for ten minutes at the start of class, so people begin to develop sense of what it feels like

Rupert Atkinson
07-09-2014, 06:07 PM
I actually think that they can and should be taught simultaneously. As we do where I train with the Tohei Sensei ki warmups that mimic the form of the kata movements (and that can also be used as solo training if one figures out how to do that...) why NOT also teach slow, basic exercises to beginners, for ten minutes at the start of class, so people begin to develop sense of what it feels like

I can`t see much problem with that at all, but be careful not to teach too much that way. Teach the parts - keep them separate - and then join them up later. There is more than one way up the mountain but too much in one direction (unless it is straight up) and you will never get close to the top. Whch begs the questions - which way is straight up - Ha ha. We all think our way to be the best way, but we should keep our minds open and constantly re-evaluate. Two nights ago I was corrected on two things - made perfect sense - and it blew me away. And I have only been at it 34 years ...

Cliff Judge
07-10-2014, 12:05 PM
My take on this is that there is a difference between demonstrating Aikido and demonstrating aiki on an uke - demonstrating aiki on an uke is one of a number of things you might do when demonstrating Aikido.

This is because of two reasons:

1) there are a whole raft of things you would want to show students that don't have to do with aiki. Or "IP" for that matter. Particularly if you are trying to train some martial skill into your students or yourself. Sometimes you just need to figure out how to properly attack a joint, for example.

2) Secondly, I have lately been thinking that the typical big, flowing Aikido movements come from demonstrations of "externalized" internal movements. Anybody who has trained with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei should know exactly what I am talking about. You could look at some demonstrations of Aikido as being an explanation or picture of aiki, but without actually being aiki themselves.

jonreading
07-10-2014, 12:39 PM
My take on this is that there is a difference between demonstrating Aikido and demonstrating aiki on an uke - demonstrating aiki on an uke is one of a number of things you might do when demonstrating Aikido.

This is because of two reasons:

1) there are a whole raft of things you would want to show students that don't have to do with aiki. Or "IP" for that matter. Particularly if you are trying to train some martial skill into your students or yourself. Sometimes you just need to figure out how to properly attack a joint, for example.

2) Secondly, I have lately been thinking that the typical big, flowing Aikido movements come from demonstrations of "externalized" internal movements. Anybody who has trained with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei should know exactly what I am talking about. You could look at some demonstrations of Aikido as being an explanation or picture of aiki, but without actually being aiki themselves.

Cliff-

I tend to agree with you. A good example of keeping things separate may be the famous conversion of the sumo player, Tenryu. Although familiar with sumo, most accounts indicate that O Sensei did not play sumo with Tenryu, but rather showed him aiki. Why did O Sensei abstain from showing aiki through sumo? While the converse of your example, I think an interesting example of the advantage being able to separate technique from aiki.

Yes, I think some of our waza distortion comes from deliberate exaggerations of internal movement. I'm not sold on the argument that external movement can demonstrate internal movement; I think at best it simulates a feeling that we try to emulate when training internals. I think this has been part of Sensei's struggle to communicate that instruction.

Erick Mead
07-10-2014, 02:36 PM
Any way: Learn the kata/shapes/waza, do some aiki exercises, then add what you `feel` to one of your waza and experiment.
Yes, I am definitely in the camp of "you need a vessel in which to pour water." I think this is complicated because I am currently of the mind that some of the aikido curriculum has been distorted over the years as external "fixes" have been applied to the gaps created by not practicing internal training. While not wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I think it fair to be cautious evaluating the kata to make sure it is what we should be doing (in order to prevent un-learning it later).

Here's my take. I've visited Jon, who is working on these things and has hosted them. What is being done as he is adapting it seems to me perfectly valid, though approaching it from a perspective probably alien to the way most aikido praxis has evolved (and in which evolution there is much to criticize, in truth).

I think the "shaping" observation in both comments is common ground. If I were to make a observation these two approaches are on either end of a bell curve -- one where -- ideally the "shape" is confined within the body and its resulting internal stress profiles -- and the other using the dynamic "shape" (of those same shape stress profiles ) but deployed into motion.

From a teaching standpoint, I will say it takes a very long time to get people attuned to their internal structural state. They are simply too unconscious of it -- and have been basically since they learned to walk without thinking. This stuff requires as much consciousness in adapting your structural responses as it did when learning to walk (and I find the two are more related than not, actually.)

Where the evolved praxis in aikido fell down (heh), it seems to me, is that the dynamics took two endpoints and took shortcuts and failed to follow the true "shapes" of the dynamic outside the body -- which is the same "shape" as the internal stress flowing into the body. If the shape outside the body is correc then when that movement resolves into internal stress - and the natural reversals of that stress (inyo ho) then occur inside the body as that happens. Then they flow out as movement again. Aiki Taiso are full of this.

Water assumes the same shape as the bowl -- but without the bowl it is a hopelessly formless mess. Freeze the water -- and it will keep the shape even without the bowl -- but at the price of its fluidity. Swirl the bowl and water develops the typical spiral movement and a torsional stress profile that then overcomes gravity and rises up the bowl's edges, (and also drops in the center).

The dynamic vortex has internal stresses that hold it in a stable and coherent structural form like the waterspout -- and it resolves its external movements and energies in a reverse flow (many people are not aware of this bit of physics (see e.g. -- vortex tube (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_tube)) -- The waterspout has a rising external spiral and a descending internal spiral (90 degrees out of phase -- i.e. - 十字 juji ) which balances and gives it both its coherent structure and its inherent power to disrupt anything that comes within its influence. (It is the same structural stress path as a torsional shear in the body, FWIW). The water merely swirling in the bowl lacks this fully circulating balanced and opposed stress/flow but shows its basic dynamic (rising outside, falling in the center).

The awareness of this "shape" and its reversals occurring ("intent" -- or nen 念 (attention, feeling, sense)) is common to BOTH schools of thought, FWIW. I think it perhaps more than providential that a cognate to this 念 nen -- is 捻 (nen = twist, torque) (used in 捻転 (nenten = twisting, torsion). I shrink from concluding this is necessarily some sort of okuden wordplay - but the point suggests itself.

True aiki -- it seems to me -- is that "shape" -- whether the static stress form as the in-yo poles shift places within the body -- or the dynamic movement form as they flow out of it (and then again reverse within the body of the unprepared adversary). Train that true "shape" externally, and one can become aware of that "shape" as its stresses resolve and reverse in the body. This is what started me down this road in my training.

A fair bit of what is being sought in the approach beginning internally is disclosed in this way through CORRECT shape in movement. Too much in what is trained now more generally is not correct in these terms of "shape." I have not enough exposure to the internal modes of training (past what Jon has kindly shown) to say how much more the internal approach can cover and that the other may not. One weakness I will fully admit is that what I've done requires close observation of developing stress and resulting movement simultaneously -- and lots of people have problems with those just taken one at a time.

I think both perspectives are necessary. Kokyu tanden ho remains in the evolved curriculum to refocus on the isolated stress perspective. Much that is being pursued in the internal approach appears to add immense value and expansion to this aspect -- and may be employed even without departing traditional forms -- and may actually bring the forms back to what they should be.

Anjisan
07-11-2014, 03:33 PM
I may have been that guy...

One of the things causing me grief these days is the inconsistent ability to "do" aikido. I have broken down things to try to better understand where the "doing" part happens. In that respect, I have consolidated around the concept of "expressing/demonstrating aiki" and demonstrating a practical application of aiki, "demonstrating aikido." Essentially, I am just talking about technique done with aiki. But, I believe that aiki is real and been shown, which is not what everyone else thinks. I also believe many of us are not actually using aiki in our technique.

We can demonstrate aiki without framing that demonstration in a practical application (aikido). The most common demonstration I can think of is a push test. Or a pull test. The old guys did these a lot when they shared aikido with other arts. Pushing heads, jos, arms, etc. Mochizuki did these alot with judo players and there is a good clip of Sunadomari doing it in his friendship demo. Tohei, O Sensei, Shioda. They all did demonstrations that had these types of elements. I believe these sihan were showing aiki without the facade of technique to hide what they were doing.

The point that I was getting at was that we (aikido people) should be able to show someone "aiki" in a variety of different ways so spectators could see aikido without risk of injury. My unspoken comment was that maybe we don't understand aiki as well as we think if we only have a limited manner in which we can share what we do. Any jujutsu girl can show you an armbar and hurt you in the process - how do we separate ourselves if we cannot show aikido without hurting someone?

When we demonstrate aikido, we pick a collection of techniques in which we excel in expressing aiki and we present those techniques as an example of what aikido can do. But, I think sometimes we use kata to mask the lack of aiki. If I do good jujutsu kata, how is that dissimilar from good aikido kata? Hopefully, not much different. If I know someone will fall down from good jujutsu, who is to say my demonstration is not just good jujutsu? It has to be felt. Back to the practical idea of demonstrating aiki on someone with technique... How can we just pull someone out of the crowd to feel it if we are going to hurt them?

Oddly, I started thinking about this several years ago when our shihan, Saotome sensei, stopped teaching kata. Most of his seminars now are aiki "tricks." the centipede ukes, no touch throws, push throws... I think he felt that "kata" was getting in the way of "aiki". While I don't have the newest ASU handbook, I am pretty sure "centipede nage waza" is not part of the curriculum on which we test. I believe sensei is trying to show us the real motor that drives his techniques.

I think our collection of techniques were created for a common theme - the practical application of aiki. When you have the aikibody, the themes tend to constantly exist throughout movement. Is it different than modern aikido? Yes. But not everyone wants that. I also talked about aikido's tent size - there is a lot of variation in aikido and each one has some value to those who practice it.

I am also a student under Saotome sensei in ASU and based on my experiences with sensei and others whom I know and train with, your description of his teaching does not reflect at least what I have seen and heard from him at seminars as well as private teaching at the shrine. I have not noticed any substantial changes in his teachings over the past few years. I have seen him teaching waza with committed attacks from Uke and drawing upon techniques that depend utilizing the momentum from Uke's attack. While it is certainly accurate from my experience with him that he teaches other things that resemble exercises or slow motion technique.

However, when he does so I do not believe he is teaching what you refer to as "aiki" (the definition of aiki being internal strength). It is certainly possible for one to read into these exercises and see something else though. However, over the years Sensei has explained what most of them are for so there would be no need to guess what they mean. Typically, they address blending, being flexible and being willing to change. An example would be a static ikkyo that connects to the shoulder or the blending with very small amount of energy. Also, you mention the push tests from Ki Society as an example of people doing what you are defining as "aiki" training for the aiki body, but it is my understanding that Ki Society under Tohei believe their grounding ability results from the projection of Ki not IS. Not true?

Finally, sensei may do a few things that are about connecting in a way that you are defining as "aiki" but those are by far a minority of what he demonstrates in my experience and certainly IMO doesn't constitute a paradigm shift in his teaching. The majority of what Saotome sensei is describing in my experience is blending with Uke's energy to get kuzushi, to discombobulate.

"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

Again, its just my observation and the experience of those whom I train or interact with who train with Sensei too.

Train Hard,
Jason

Cliff Judge
07-11-2014, 04:22 PM
i agree with Jon. Saotome Sensei has stripped his teaching down to just aiki in recent years. I haven't seen him teach his self-defense applications or pull twenty new kata out of the air in a pretty long time.

kewms
07-12-2014, 11:11 AM
However, when he does so I do not believe he is teaching what you refer to as "aiki" (the definition of aiki being internal strength). It is certainly possible for one to read into these exercises and see something else though.

Just want to clarify here... Have you checked with Saotome Sensei on this? Because I'm pretty confident that he sees aiki as the core of his art. (Which is, after all, called AIKIdo.)

Speaking for myself, I'm also not sure that I would agree that "aiki" and "internal strength" are the same thing. Certainly internal strength is an *aspect* of aiki, but (re)discovering internal strength wasn't Ueshiba Sensei's great insight.

Katherine

kewms
07-12-2014, 11:26 AM
"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature


Aikido and the Harmony of Nature was published in 1993. I think it's safe to assume that any martial artist of Saotome Sensei's caliber will have learned a great deal in 20 years.

Katherine

Chris Li
07-12-2014, 01:02 PM
Just want to clarify here... Have you checked with Saotome Sensei on this? Because I'm pretty confident that he sees aiki as the core of his art. (Which is, after all, called AIKIdo.)

Speaking for myself, I'm also not sure that I would agree that "aiki" and "internal strength" are the same thing. Certainly internal strength is an *aspect* of aiki, but (re)discovering internal strength wasn't Ueshiba Sensei's great insight.

Katherine

I'm sure you're aware of the distinction that we make, but in the context of what we are doing there is absolutly a distinction between Internal Power and Aiki - but Aiki is dependent upon Internal Power, so...no Internal Power, no Aiki.

Best,

Chris

Anjisan
07-12-2014, 01:04 PM
I certainly agree that anyone committed to his or her art or craft would learn after 20 years. I know I have! However, what I am saying is that I (and may others) have still seen him demonstrating techniques in a way that is consistent with the quote from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature. In other words, the majority of what he demonstrated from what I have seen is consistent with that. As I said, sure, he has shown other things that could be described as "tricks" but they are the minority in my experience and could hardly represent a paradigm shift brought about by some new insight into IS. He has explained the exercises were for pretty consistently. It just basically comes down to how one defines "Aiki" and what I am saying is the vast majority of what he is demonstrating from what I and others have seen and experienced is consistent with the quote. I would certainly not say that what he is doing had not evolved just that it is consistent with the Aiki as he had defined it which is the blending of energy. At least that has been my experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjk_cLB8yHw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F97kmNs8IiE

Train Hard,
Jason

Chris Li
07-12-2014, 03:28 PM
"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature


I have the first edition, and the page numbers appear to be different so I couldn't find the quote. Nonetheless, if you were here I could show you in a couple of minutes why that doesn't really work very well. I'm not saying that what Saotome is doing is wrong - just that this single phrase most likely doesn't represent a full representation of what he's doing.

Best,

Chris

kewms
07-12-2014, 07:10 PM
I'm sure you're aware of the distinction that we make, but in the context of what we are doing there is absolutly a distinction between Internal Power and Aiki - but Aiki is dependent upon Internal Power, so...no Internal Power, no Aiki.


I'm aware of that; the person to whom I was responding didn't seem to be.

Katherine

kewms
07-12-2014, 07:14 PM
I certainly agree that anyone committed to his or her art or craft would learn after 20 years. I know I have! However, what I am saying is that I (and may others) have still seen him demonstrating techniques in a way that is consistent with the quote from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature. In other words, the majority of what he demonstrated from what I have seen is consistent with that. As I said, sure, he has shown other things that could be described as "tricks" but they are the minority in my experience and could hardly represent a paradigm shift brought about by some new insight into IS. He has explained the exercises were for pretty consistently. It just basically comes down to how one defines "Aiki" and what I am saying is the vast majority of what he is demonstrating from what I and others have seen and experienced is consistent with the quote. I would certainly not say that what he is doing had not evolved just that it is consistent with the Aiki as he had defined it which is the blending of energy. At least that has been my experience.


Look closer.

Katherine

Chris Li
07-12-2014, 07:30 PM
I'm aware of that; the person to whom I was responding didn't seem to be.

Katherine

Sure, that's really who the comment was aimed at.

Best,

Chris

jonreading
07-14-2014, 08:33 AM
I am also a student under Saotome sensei in ASU and based on my experiences with sensei and others whom I know and train with, your description of his teaching does not reflect at least what I have seen and heard from him at seminars as well as private teaching at the shrine. I have not noticed any substantial changes in his teachings over the past few years. I have seen him teaching waza with committed attacks from Uke and drawing upon techniques that depend utilizing the momentum from Uke's attack. While it is certainly accurate from my experience with him that he teaches other things that resemble exercises or slow motion technique.

However, when he does so I do not believe he is teaching what you refer to as "aiki" (the definition of aiki being internal strength). It is certainly possible for one to read into these exercises and see something else though. However, over the years Sensei has explained what most of them are for so there would be no need to guess what they mean. Typically, they address blending, being flexible and being willing to change. An example would be a static ikkyo that connects to the shoulder or the blending with very small amount of energy. Also, you mention the push tests from Ki Society as an example of people doing what you are defining as "aiki" training for the aiki body, but it is my understanding that Ki Society under Tohei believe their grounding ability results from the projection of Ki not IS. Not true?

Finally, sensei may do a few things that are about connecting in a way that you are defining as "aiki" but those are by far a minority of what he demonstrates in my experience and certainly IMO doesn't constitute a paradigm shift in his teaching. The majority of what Saotome sensei is describing in my experience is blending with Uke's energy to get kuzushi, to discombobulate.

"Aikido techniques depends on blending with the force of the attack. It is that force which determines the movement....." Page 180 Aikido and the Harmony of Nature

Again, its just my observation and the experience of those whom I train or interact with who train with Sensei too.

Train Hard,
Jason

I think some other posts have provided some clarification already, but I'll and in my comments.

First, I think Saotome Sensei is a genius. I am not saying he only teaches one type of seminar, or that he limits what he shows during his seminars. I am describing the experiences I have seen and your mileage may vary.

Second, I also contend that sensei believes everything he does is aiki. I think he has changed his teaching to try different avenues of sharing what he knows. I would be more concerned if sensei showed the same technique he taught 30 years ago. I think this is the difference between walking on a path and resting at a point on the path. In my case, I want to be on Sensei's heels - not the point he was at 30 years ago.

Third, I do not want to confuse anyone. I did not refer to stylized aikido as an example of push test demonstration, I referred to individuals. I am not of the mind that any style of aikido has replicated a solid curriculum of training internals. While already mentioned, I would also clarify that internal power is not aiki, simple a pre-requisite to aiki.

I used sensei because I believe he is a great example of a shihan embracing not just a curriculum, but the transmission of aiki. I think he is trying to pound into our heads aiki is not twisting a wrist or running at your partner so they can throw you.

Cliff Judge
07-14-2014, 02:01 PM
I think some other posts have provided some clarification already, but I'll and in my comments.

First, I think Saotome Sensei is a genius. I am not saying he only teaches one type of seminar, or that he limits what he shows during his seminars. I am describing the experiences I have seen and your mileage may vary.

Second, I also contend that sensei believes everything he does is aiki. I think he has changed his teaching to try different avenues of sharing what he knows. I would be more concerned if sensei showed the same technique he taught 30 years ago. I think this is the difference between walking on a path and resting at a point on the path. In my case, I want to be on Sensei's heels - not the point he was at 30 years ago.

Third, I do not want to confuse anyone. I did not refer to stylized aikido as an example of push test demonstration, I referred to individuals. I am not of the mind that any style of aikido has replicated a solid curriculum of training internals. While already mentioned, I would also clarify that internal power is not aiki, simple a pre-requisite to aiki.

I used sensei because I believe he is a great example of a shihan embracing not just a curriculum, but the transmission of aiki. I think he is trying to pound into our heads aiki is not twisting a wrist or running at your partner so they can throw you.

I disagree that internal power is a "prerequisite" of aiki. They are just two different things. I suppose if you are an internal power type you are going to see things in Saotome Sensei's material that makes sense in that light, but he really doesn't teach anything about internal power, and internals are not a requirement to make most of what he does work.

Rupert Atkinson
07-14-2014, 02:17 PM
I disagree that internal power is a "prerequisite" of aiki. They are just two different things. I suppose if you are an internal power type you are going to see things in Saotome Sensei's material that makes sense in that light, but he really doesn't teach anything about internal power, and internals are not a requirement to make most of what he does work.

I find this idea quite thought provoking. Interesting even. I am of the mind that power is very important. I remember that Kanetsuka Sensei (UK) produced very soft Aikido but his structure was solid as a rock. He didn't teach anything about power though - but he was very powerful. In fact, his Aikido was kind of like Chiba's in that it was - obviously very powerful - and then he got cancer and he became soft, then he overcame the cancer, and he remained soft - but power lurked behind it, hidden. And so, all his students followed. But they were following his journey, and his route had included power. If I remember correctly (I could be wrong - I was a nobody back then), some senior students quit at that time and joined a different organisation - perhaps because of this - so it is important to consider.

Anyway, I believe power to be very important. Even, I would say, the more you have the better (both internal and external), but we choose not to use the external, instead finding a more efficient way to do it (internal). But even then, the thing is, we must still work on developing our power (internal and external) and maintaining it. We should be a strong as we can be for our own body on both the inside and the outside. I am not advocating weight training here, rather, just that one should be extra fit (compared to the average guy). And unless you train regularly, Aikido is not enough to get you fit, which is another problem entirely.

Cliff Judge
07-14-2014, 03:19 PM
I find this idea quite thought provoking. Interesting even. I am of the mind that power is very important. I remember that Kanetsuka Sensei (UK) produced very soft Aikido but his structure was solid as a rock. He didn't teach anything about power though - but he was very powerful. In fact, his Aikido was kind of like Chiba's in that it was - obviously very powerful - and then he got cancer and he became soft, then he overcame the cancer, and he remained soft - but power lurked behind it, hidden. And so, all his students followed. But they were following his journey, and his route had included power. If I remember correctly (I could be wrong - I was a nobody back then), some senior students quit at that time and joined a different organisation - perhaps because of this - so it is important to consider.

Anyway, I believe power to be very important. Even, I would say, the more you have the better (both internal and external), but we choose not to use the external, instead finding a more efficient way to do it (internal). But even then, the thing is, we must still work on developing our power (internal and external) and maintaining it. We should be a strong as we can be for our own body on both the inside and the outside. I am not advocating weight training here, rather, just that one should be extra fit (compared to the average guy). And unless you train regularly, Aikido is not enough to get you fit, which is another problem entirely.

I don't think there is any power there at all, particularly when I get my hands on one of my high-level teachers. I think power is a poor conceptual fit to aiki in general (as well as the core principals of koryu arts i have studied).

When I have hands on a high-level person, what strikes me is that I don't feel anything. it is not that it is "strange" or "unconventional" power - it is that it is not power.

Another thing the concept of "power" is a poor conceptual fit with, in my very humble opinion, is the Chinese classics.

(Well, the idea that it is a worthwhile thing to have or develop, anyway)

jonreading
07-14-2014, 03:20 PM
I disagree that internal power is a "prerequisite" of aiki. They are just two different things. I suppose if you are an internal power type you are going to see things in Saotome Sensei's material that makes sense in that light, but he really doesn't teach anything about internal power, and internals are not a requirement to make most of what he does work.

Denier. :)

This is currently above my pay grade, but I am working on it. If internal power is integral to "ki", then "aiki" would necessarily have "ki" (and internal power). I am still waiting to hear how internal power squares up to "ki", but my guess is they are related, if not synonymous.

I am convinced Sensei is doing internals and doesn't even distinguish it - it's just what he does and who he is. Same with Ikeda sensei. While possibly a topic for another thread, I don't think there is anything wrong with doing good jujutsu and I don't think you need internals for doing them. But without aiki, you're doing a different art - even if it looks the same. I think the question is actually at what point do we consider technique without aiki to cease being "aikido". There has to be some level, because when we begin, clearly no one is doing aiki - we are trying our best to not trip over our feet. We still call it aikido, but at some point the expectation shifts beyond jujutsu.

Or... can aikido function without an internal component?

Somewhat bending back around to my distinction that we have a problem if the only instance in which we can demonstrate "aiki" is by doing jujutsu waza... Maybe the only thing we are demonstrating is jujutsu.

David Orange
07-15-2014, 02:13 PM
I think the recently discovered 1968 film of O Sensei at hombu dojo can provide much perspective here. Just as I was thinking that it proved that O Sensei was moving relative to uke as a main element of aiki, he started doing things without moving. Tossing big guys around with little or no shifting or turning. He directly absorbed the force and directly returned it, almost without movement, producing huge lift in the uke, sending him flying.

So I would say that aiki first involves complete control of one's own body and position in space. I recently reviewed several hours of incredible video footage of Seigo Okamoto sensei, showing his roppokai method close up, in slow motion, from various angles. The techniques range from small (very small) to relatively large and they're generally all very simple. But they produce instant, large response in the attacker. One thing I noticed about Okamoto sensei is that his body is incredibly stable through every movement. The weight of uke never impinges on him and even when he throws the uke and holds his arm, dragging him back across the floor, Okamoto may step, but that's all. His body never bends or wobbles and he doesn't stumble because he only makes small steps for the most part. But his techniques express aiki in very small, smooth, subtle movements.

So the second element of aiki, after complete ownership of self and place, is that it creates instant lift in anyone who lays hands or exerts force on this self-possessed body. And by "lift," I mean loss of relation to the earth's gravity. By exerting force on the aiki body, trying to find its moveable center, they orient themselves primarily to the firmness and solidity of that body. Small, subtle movements of the aiki body draw that attachment by suggesting solidity where it can be removed, or inviting entry to a place where he finds himself with no strength. Technically, this is aiki age, lifting the attacker on contact, but it can also express as aiki sage, which drops him. And I guess that's what O Sensei and Shioda sensei show when the attacker is rather frozen in place.

To me, that's the "blending" of aiki--first having firm possession of self and place, then causing the attacker to orient his physical balance to his perception of the aiki body's strong or weak points (which are falsely presented) to result in his suddenly rising, falling or being suspended in place (basically, double-weighted).

As to kata, it's finally unnecessary to aiki or aiki expression, though it's really hard to learn aiki without some form. Before I benefited by the reasoning of both Dan Harden, Mike Sigman and Rob John, but after I lived with Mochizuki sensei, I understood that aikido was generally being taught "backward," through fairly complicated sequences of movement. Through Mochizuki sensei's method of instruction (applying Kano's rationality and physics awareness to Ueshiba's aikido), I learned that judo, aikido, karate and sword can all be performed with the same small handful of basics beginning with standing upright and walking. And I perceived this "lifting" in the attacker's body and was searching for ways to cause it to overact, but I didn't yet realize the principles of aiki age and aiki sage, so I had to get help from Dan, Mike, Ark and Rob and also study and feel other people's strength to begin to get the idea.

Anyway, as we can see in the 1968 films of O Sensei, he does some things with "technique" we can recognize, "blending" by moving off-line and turning, but at other times, he directly accepts uke's strength straight-on, yet doesn't let it settle on him. "Re-directing," in these examples, is often straight back where it came from, which is not what we normally think of as "blending."

So kata and form are useful but without the basic engine of aiki, those forms can very easily lead people into a mush of pretentious off-showing that would lead to disaster against a serious attacker. This will not happen if uke remains honest and gives sincere attacks, and doesn't fall unless nage's movement (or non-movement) breaks his balance involuntarily and forces him to recover. Teaching uke to fall, regardless of the technique, is a sign of no aiki in the technique or in the teaching.

As mentioned above, start with some push testing and see what that tells. Aiki can scarcely be observed by the eye but it can be felt at once in the body.

Gavin Slater
07-18-2014, 08:28 PM
I don't think it is a good idea to want to become powerful or get some unusual power, or to even think there is some magical UP POWER!.

Mert Gambito
07-20-2014, 02:13 PM
"勁" and "power". Yeah very different connotations. In Asian culture, you're trying to become physically strong for the purposes of health and martial ability. You can also use variants of it to help heal others. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Gavin Slater
07-21-2014, 08:34 PM
Are you still talking about aiki?

Mert Gambito
07-21-2014, 10:33 PM
Are you still talking about aiki?
"Power", as in what's normally translated from Chinese into English as "internal power", within the gamut of which aiki falls.

Carsten Möllering
07-22-2014, 02:10 AM
@ Gavin:

How do you translate or understand "ryoku" like in kokyu ryoku?
What does it feel like for you being tori, when you put "more energy/ki" into your throws?
Do you experience the feeling to be "more powerfull" when you are relaxed, ki is flowing, your posture and connection to uke ist good?

Which word do you use, when you, being uke, are stamped into the ground. Not by muscular force but by softness, technical good waza, experience, use of center ... and all that? Soft but ...? (I would say powerful.) If it is not power for you, wich word does express this capability of tori in your language use?

Gavin Slater
07-22-2014, 07:14 AM
Hi Carsten,

My main point was that I dont think it is a good idea to want to become powerful, like it is the most important thing. I think it is more important to understand what it is, to do that I think you need also accept it is also not about power. If you are only concerned about becoming powerful then when do you stop? How powerful do you need to get? How do you know you are powerful? What's the point?

In regards to kyoku ryoku. If I had to use english I would say it is like influencing someone to do something, or making someone do something.

Feelings are subjective but I will try and answer your questions;
What does it feel like being tori? I would say it feels free, im not sure what you mean by putting more ki into my throws. I dont think you throw people away.
Yes the more relaxed you are, the more freedom you have.
It depends what you mean by your connection to uke is good? You could say there is no connection to uke.

Gavin

Cliff Judge
07-22-2014, 07:58 AM
I am with Gavin here; the orientation around the concept of "power" in this sub-comminity seems a bit corny to me, slightly childish. It may just be a choice of words, but when working with internal training methods involving imagery and intent, words can color the whole practice. Every time I pick up the Tao Te Ching it seems like I can just pick a page at random and I find a passage warning about how you can never really cultivate ki if you are looking for power.

I may have mentioned this already in this thread but when I take ukemi for one of my high level teachers it feels like absolutely nothing is throwing me. I hope to cultivate less and less power as I train and more and more nothing.

jonreading
07-22-2014, 11:51 AM
I think there is a cross-definition of power going on... Maybe some clarification helps. I have seen at least 4 contexts of "power" ...

Internal power is just another kind of mechanic to generate kinetic force. Muscles are just one kind of power source. So is gravity. In this sense, we are talking about the engine of kinetic energy - movement. If you are doing waza, you are moving and using power. The question really is, what is moving you?

Second, we have an imagery to help craft the recognition and restraint of using muscles you don't need. This is "relax". If you have been told to relax, you are using too many external muscles. It's not that you should not use power to move, its that you are using muscle power to move (as opposed to the unspoken "internalization" of the movement).

Third, we have a philosophy to help craft the intent that leads our movement. Our intent should not focus on doing something to someone, but rather liberating our personal freedom to be unaffected by others. In this sense, "power" refers to the will of dominion over another - the desire to do something to someone.

Forth, we have an education to help craft our decisions and prioritize our actions. This is a concrete expression of action and reaction. In this sense, power is a physical force that we can receive and we can apply. Sunadomari made "take away power" famous in his aikido friendship demo, referring to the process of removing a partner's ability to apply power into nage.

"Internal power" for me is the very specific use of internal mechanics to transfer my potential energy into kinetic energy. If you are talking about anything external to yourself, then you are not talking about "internal power." At best, you are talking about the affect internal power has on others.

Given Gavin's comments concerning his idea of kokyu rokyu doing something to somebody, I think he is not talking about internal power. There is no magical power. Internal power is unusual in that it is a rewiring of human function that requires effort and is not intuitive. But then, isn't gravity unusual power? Watch a baby try to stand against gravity and see the affect gravity has on the baby. Sure, we figure out the tricks to deal with gravity (by wiring our body to move...), but that baby represents a sincere perspective of the power of gravity. After all, isn't gravity fundamental to the concept of kuzushi?

To Cliff's point... If you consider power to be muscular, yes, i think the use of muscular effort is not conducive to cultivating ki* (*somewhat vague). Best example... Imagine loosing an arrow from a bow:
1. Could you push the string with your arm faster that the string can release its kinetic energy?
2. Could you throw an arrow farther than a bow can shoot an arrow?
The build of potential energy is created by drawing the bow, not loosing it. Releasing the string is what converts the potential energy into kinetic energy. The string affects the notched arrow by accelerating it during its return to zero energy state. The result is the arrow is projected into the air. The bow example can both illustrate the inefficiency of where we apply force (pushing the string) and the difference in applied force (the range of comparative arrows).

My thinking... FWIW

Rupert Atkinson
07-22-2014, 03:00 PM
Power is important. Get used to it. You need to end up with more, not less. And why do people always think power is just physical strength? But, the irony is, you must learn not to use that power. That's the difficult part.

Mert Gambito
07-22-2014, 04:59 PM
If we assign the connotations of "power" in the western sense to "勁", yeah again, that's limiting. Look at the English terms in addition to "strength" attributed to the Chinese version of the term in Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/#zh-CN/en/%E5%8B%81) to illustrate this (not that Google Translate is complete or infallible, but it's interesting to note that the noun synonyms provided do not include "power").

That said, the folks in the IP subset of this community in general are seeking greater, more efficient ability in their respective martial arts. Individual goals are wide ranging within that gamut. Given this is martial arts, even if on the edges of the bell curve someone's seeking power for the sake of simply taking out people more expediently, well that also fits within the gamut. And besides a number of the aiki greats, including Ueshiba, specifically sought and demonstrated it in this context. As a member of the Hawaii martial arts community who encountered Ueshiba during the founder's later years recounts, Ueshiba reversed this man's attack (which came from behind without warning) and readily held him to the ground with a single hand, suggesting it was like subduing a child. That was an unequivocal premeditated show of "power".

Gavin Slater
07-22-2014, 08:25 PM
Hi,

I guess everyone has a different idea. I can only say what I was taught in respect to kyoku / kyoku jime I was told it was influencing your enemy (or making your enemy do what you want) with your breath. Uke/tori wasn't really used like in judo.

I just think no matter what you believe aiki is, whether it is internal power, bow theory or big fat jelly men you also need to believe it is not that as well.

Gavin

Carsten Möllering
07-23-2014, 04:09 AM
I am sorry, I have to take a little detour: I don't understand your following statements:

... im not sure what you mean by putting more ki into my throws. I dont think you throw people away.Yes. I do. Of course I do. To me that is what the nage waza are about?
(To be more precise, we try to not throw uke away, but try to throw him directly down to the ground between our feet. But I think this does not make a difference in regard to the topic here?)
And you can choose whether to do that more intense, more vigorous, more energatically. - Or not.
One means of steering of how intense your throw becomes is where to lead your ki, and how much to lead there.

In graduation exams of sandan or yondan I hear the request to not hold back, but put more ki into the waza from time to time.

When you say, you don't throw uke away, I think I don't understand which way you are dealing with uke? Well if he is not throwing himself, it tori who has to?
Maybe there is a vid on youtube, that can help me to understand, what you mean?

... influencing your enemy (or making your enemy do what you want) with your breath. Uke/tori wasn't really used like in judo.Same thing here: What does that mean, that uke "wasn't realy used"? Don't you touch him or grab him? And if not, how then do you make him go down?

Maybe that the coordinate systems of our ways of doing and understanding aikidō is different, so that things like power, strength etc. have completely different place in each case?

---
With regard to power:

For sure "power" is not what I am first of all looking for, but it is part of the outcome of my practice. And "power" for sure does not mean muscular strength. And it does not mean intellectual or spiritual dominance.

In practicing aikidō it is brought forth by using yin and yang, by not relying on muscles but on the internal structure and natural organisation of the body.
And it is brought forth in the same way by living the dao. It is a power that even while it does nothing, leaves nothing undone. A power that even while it is empty, generates the 10,000 things inexhaustible.
I think, dao is very powerfull. As long as you are not searching for power but searching for the dao. And I think, aikidō is a way of practicing the dao.

Gavin Slater
07-23-2014, 06:55 AM
Hi Carsten,

When I say uke/tori wasn't really used, I mean the terms were not really used i.e. the attacker was never called uke. They were always referenced as the enemy. Nothing to do with dealing with uke etc.

In Daito Ryu there are no throws, you don't throw the enemy away.

Maybe our understanding of aiki is very different, mine comes from Daito Ryu. I'm not sure why you use chinese terms like yin/yang and the dao when you study aikido?

I dont think 'power' is muscular strength. I just said I don't think you should want to become powerful.

Gavin

Carsten Möllering
07-23-2014, 08:01 AM
Thank you!
I was completely on the wrong track! Whyever ..

Maybe our understanding of aiki is very different, mine comes from Daito Ryu.I use to practice with some students of Endō sensei who also practice Daitō ryū Roppokai. At least our understanding of aiki goes together.

I'm not sure why you use chinese terms like yin/yang and the dao when you study aikido?Those terms - and others - are frequently used in my aikido world. And Ueshiba himself also did so.

Cliff Judge
07-23-2014, 10:06 AM
Thank you!
I was completely on the wrong track! Whyever ..

I use to practice with some students of Endō sensei who also practice Daitō ryū Roppokai. At least our understanding of aiki goes together.

Those terms - and others - are frequently used in my aikido world. And Ueshiba himself also did so.

Didn't he use the terms in and yo? I've wondered about the use of Chinese terms sometimes too, though it makes sense when someone "up the chain" has done some serious study of Chinese martial arts, which is the case for several of my instructors.

MRoh
07-23-2014, 03:18 PM
Didn't he use the terms in and yo?

I think he used izanami and izanagi.

jonreading
07-23-2014, 03:30 PM
I am not sure how much "published" works of the founder would survive using Chinese terminology. I think there are some good points in Hidden in Plain Sight that talk about the impact of Chinese martial arts and culture on O Sensei.

Mostly, I think think some Chinese terminology more explicitly defines difficult concepts often left to implicit instruction in Japanese martial arts.

Also, I have found that when I work with very powerful people, my ukemi is less about letting them do something to me and more about proactively protecting myself. I am not getting "thrown" so much as I am actively working to protect my body. Even if I am being pinned, I am working to protect my body from being damaged by the pin.

Chris Li
07-23-2014, 03:50 PM
I think he used izanami and izanagi.

Yes, and he also used In and Yo quite a bit - but In and Yo is just...Yin and Yang, the same Kanji with a slight shift in pronunciation (the pronunciation changes in Chinese too, depending upon the dialect you're speaking - the rule in Chinese is to follow the written character, which is the same in Japanese).

I tend to use Yin and Yang because it's more generally recognizable to most folks. Before the IP "crowd" started talking about In and Yo most people in contemporary Aikido had never even heard the terms before.

Best,

Chris

Mert Gambito
07-23-2014, 04:11 PM
In Daito Ryu there are no throws, you don't throw the enemy away.
Gavin,

There are plenty of throws in Daito-ryu, some of which have direct analogues, for example, in judo (e.g. Kata Guruma and O-Soto Gari). Agree regarding throwing away: similar to judo, you generally keep contact with the uke, or at least keep him/her within easy reach, following the throw / takedown.

Maybe our understanding of aiki is very different, mine comes from Daito Ryu. I'm not sure why you use chinese terms like yin/yang and the dao when you study aikido?
All of this has been put to bed in the past, e.g. per Morihei Ueshiba's son:
He would always shut himself up in his room and avidly read his stacks of books. He liked reviews of the (nine) Chinese classics and stories of heroes, but he liked physics and mathematics more—he would read and think, think and make things, and absorb himself in experiments.

There was a temple nearby which burned goma (a method of spiritual practice of esoteric Buddhism in which the "firewood of evil passions" is burned by the "fire of wisdom", and while going to a school affiliated with the temple, he studied the (nine) Chinese classics from the priest.

(full introductory text of the article is here: https://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=317)

sakumeikan
07-23-2014, 06:04 PM
I find this idea quite thought provoking. Interesting even. I am of the mind that power is very important. I remember that Kanetsuka Sensei (UK) produced very soft Aikido but his structure was solid as a rock. He didn't teach anything about power though - but he was very powerful. In fact, his Aikido was kind of like Chiba's in that it was - obviously very powerful - and then he got cancer and he became soft, then he overcame the cancer, and he remained soft - but power lurked behind it, hidden. And so, all his students followed. But they were following his journey, and his route had included power. If I remember correctly (I could be wrong - I was a nobody back then), some senior students quit at that time and joined a different organisation - perhaps because of this - so it is important to consider.

Anyway, I believe power to be very important. Even, I would say, the more you have the better (both internal and external), but we choose not to use the external, instead finding a more efficient way to do it (internal). But even then, the thing is, we must still work on developing our power (internal and external) and maintaining it. We should be a strong as we can be for our own body on both the inside and the outside. I am not advocating weight training here, rather, just that one should be extra fit (compared to the average guy). And unless you train regularly, Aikido is not enough to get you fit, which is another problem entirely.
Dear Rupert,
As one of the guys who quit the B.A.F and subsequently joined the U.K.A.and later became a co founder of British Aikikai aka British Birankai,I remember that period only too clearly.I must say that had I not left the B.A.F I would not be still involved in Aikido.Quite frankly classes under Kanetsuka Sensei had little in common with Chiba Sensei.I agree Kanetsuka Sensei was a strong person at the time.The people who left the B.A.F did not leave because they were unwilling to acquire power .Perhaps spending long periods lying on ones back with legs tied up like frogs at courses may well have been one of many reasons why an exodus took place.Personally I felt at the time as did others that the direction of aikido under Kanetsuka Sensei left much to be desired.I agree that some individuals remained with the B.A.F.I guess one mans meat is another mans poison??Anyway its all water under the bridge and the past is the past.
In respect of power [please define what you mean by this ]having trained with Sekiya Sensei, Yamaguchi Sensei, Tamura Sensei if you mean physical strength I would dispute your claim that you need to be King Kong to do aikido.You have ruled out weight training , surely a well designed programme of weights will make anybody stronger?Most if not all athletes [runners/judoka/ rowers] all use weights yet you do not advocate this method.Again how do you define fit?Fit for what , lifting huge weights or running a marathon?Being too strong can be counter productive inasmuch some guys use excessive force rather than using skills to apply their waza. Balance between strength/good waza is the way to go.Cheer, Joe

Gavin Slater
07-23-2014, 11:27 PM
Hi Mert,

Sorry I have never done aikido, only Hisa Sensei's Daito Ryu. I just always wondered why a Japanese Martial art would use chinese terms thats all.

Do you think Takeda Sensei taught Ueshiba Sensei using chinese terms? I dont think he did. Maybe Ueshiba Sensei liked those terms, or it was his education. I dont really know btw. I asked if Hisa Sensei ever used terms like that and he didn't so who knows.

My teacher never talked about in and yo, or dantiens or anything like that. But he did teach me how to think, and he always stressed not to try and become powerful or think you are powerful. Like it's the most basic rule, and I would not describe him as powerful, in fact it would be the opposite.

Gavin

Carsten Möllering
07-24-2014, 02:41 AM
I just always wondered why a Japanese Martial art would use chinese terms thats all.While Japanese Culture in general is deeply influenced by Chinese roots
some Japanese arts show this in particular.
Interesting enough the effective history of Daoism in Japan often is not well known. But it has deeply affected Japanese thinking. Even shintō, which is usually thought to be genuine Japanese has a strong relation to Daoism. And so has Ōmoto kyō - the sect, Ueshiba Morihei was a member of.

When I once asked Endō sensei he was very clear about aikidō having chinese roots. And he pointed out, that Ueshiba himself also was very clear about that.

My teacher never talked about in and yo, or dantiens or anything like that. My teacher does. He learned it from his aikidō teachers. And also in the koryū he teaches, exactly this are essential elements.

... he always stressed not to try and become powerful or think you are powerful. Like it's the most basic rule, ...In examinations for sandan or yondan I've often heard different teaches (Japanese and non-Japanese) request a canditate to be more vigourous, to show more energy, spirit - to be more ... powerful. (I myself also experienced this during my last examination. ;) )
.

Carsten Möllering
07-24-2014, 02:47 AM
When I showed this video of Yamashima sensei (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01pvhQ_eALU&feature=player_detailpage#t=236) to my students, one ot them spontanuously said: "See how much power he can generate by just using aiki!" ...
... while I am not talking or teaching to become powerfull in my classes.

Chris Li
07-24-2014, 03:03 AM
Hi Mert,

Sorry I have never done aikido, only Hisa Sensei's Daito Ryu. I just always wondered why a Japanese Martial art would use chinese terms thats all.

Do you think Takeda Sensei taught Ueshiba Sensei using chinese terms? I dont think he did. Maybe Ueshiba Sensei liked those terms, or it was his education. I dont really know btw. I asked if Hisa Sensei ever used terms like that and he didn't so who knows.

My teacher never talked about in and yo, or dantiens or anything like that. But he did teach me how to think, and he always stressed not to try and become powerful or think you are powerful. Like it's the most basic rule, and I would not describe him as powerful, in fact it would be the opposite.

Gavin

In and Yo are both common terms in Daito-ryu, as is Tanden (I've heard all three used by Takuma Hisa himself, and in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/sagawa-yukiyoshi-masaru-takahashi-breath-training-daito-ryu/) Tokimune Takeda also uses the terms In and Yo) - those are just slightly different pronunciations of the standard Chinese terms - the words themselves are....exactly the same. As I said, it's just a convenience because people are more familiar with the Chinese pronunciations.

As for power - as Mert said, there are a number of ways to define "power", so you'll have to define that a little more closely.

Best,

Chris

Mert Gambito
07-24-2014, 03:57 AM
Hi Mert,

Sorry I have never done aikido, only Hisa Sensei's Daito Ryu. I just always wondered why a Japanese Martial art would use chinese terms thats all.

Do you think Takeda Sensei taught Ueshiba Sensei using chinese terms? I dont think he did. Maybe Ueshiba Sensei liked those terms, or it was his education. I dont really know btw. I asked if Hisa Sensei ever used terms like that and he didn't so who knows.

My teacher never talked about in and yo, or dantiens or anything like that. But he did teach me how to think, and he always stressed not to try and become powerful or think you are powerful. Like it's the most basic rule, and I would not describe him as powerful, in fact it would be the opposite.
In his day, Ueshiba was not unique in studying Buddhism and being exposed to Chinese classics. Go back a few decades to Takeda's upbringing and that was likely even more prevalent (as discussed in this article (http://www.livescience.com/39280-19th-century-samurai-text-deciphered.html)). The aiki arts (i.e. Daito-ryu and its descendants) talk about "心" in that term's various flavors. This isn't unique to this subset of martial arts, but this is another example of an ubiquitous martial arts term that is written the same, and even almost sounds the same, in Chinese (Mandarin) as in Japanese.

Gavin, would you mind clarifying how long you've trained in Daito-ryu? Also, if in your training model the term "power" is eschewed, then how is the "internal strength", as mentioned on the Australia Takumakai's website (http://www.aikiaustralia.com.au/st.php?uv=353I121I1I0I0) (see quote below), defined/described in your lineage?

Through the constant challenges that one must face and overcome and through the support of dedicated instructors and fellow students, serious practitioners will continue to develop mind and body coordination and awareness and internal strength as long as one continues to practice.

In any case, Hisa reportedly made no qualms about discussing the need for power -- in fact differentiating between the merits of different types of power, as presented in this article (http://daitoryu.fi/media/artikkelit/hisa-takuma-and-daitoryu/) (with a salient quote below):

Hisa taught me "Daito-ryu's strong point is to make use of foot-power, foot is stronger than arm".

Anyway, the notions you put forth regarding no throws, no aspirations of power, lack of borrowed Chinese terminology, etc. in Daito-ryu are unique in my experience (and seemingly that of Chris and others with exposure to the art), so thank you for graciously fielding our rebuttals and evidence to the contrary.

Cliff Judge
07-24-2014, 08:41 AM
In and Yo are both common terms in Daito-ryu, as is Tanden (I've heard all three used by Takuma Hisa himself, and in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/sagawa-yukiyoshi-masaru-takahashi-breath-training-daito-ryu/) Tokimune Takeda also uses the terms In and Yo) - those are just slightly different pronunciations of the standard Chinese terms - the words themselves are....exactly the same. As I said, it's just a convenience because people are more familiar with the Chinese pronunciations.


Ying and yang I can see, because those have basically been adopted into English and roll off the English speaker's tongue more easily than in and yo. Dantien, not so much, you really need a tai chi background for that one. And I recall some debate on here a couple years back about what dantien actually mapped to in the Japanese martial arts lexicon, whether it was tanden or hara or what.

It can make things confusing. For me it makes it more difficult to establish a common ground, because I have no chinese martial arts experience.

Mert Gambito
07-24-2014, 01:08 PM
Ying and yang I can see, because those have basically been adopted into English and roll off the English speaker's tongue more easily than in and yo. Dantien, not so much, you really need a tai chi background for that one. And I recall some debate on here a couple years back about what dantien actually mapped to in the Japanese martial arts lexicon, whether it was tanden or hara or what.

It can make things confusing. For me it makes it more difficult to establish a common ground, because I have no chinese martial arts experience.
Moreso an Asian background: "丹田" -- which is Japanese/Chinese for tanden/dantian -- is not unique to a culture or art, but is discussed on a broader scale among Asian cultures (and not limited to Taoism).

The differences are more in how one or more tanden/dantian, and/or portions therein, are utilized for various purposes. So, if one person is used to using "hara" to do x, and someone else is used to using "tanden" to do y, while yet another uses "dantian" for z -- well, frankly that's Cartesian-style slicing and dicing that a lot of folks on the west Pacific Rim would just shrug about.

kewms
07-24-2014, 01:34 PM
I'm reminded that China plays a similar role in the East to Greece and Rome in the West. Chinese thought is deeply entangled with the intellectual heritage of the entire region, even if individual thinkers don't necessarily acknowledge the connection.

Certainly there are many advantages to claiming that your art is completely homegrown and uniquely Japanese, especially if you are living in a period of extreme Japanese nationalism. That doesn't mean it's true.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
07-24-2014, 02:25 PM
If the use of new terminology helps people understand something I am all for it. :)

phitruong
07-24-2014, 02:52 PM
If the use of new terminology helps people understand something I am all for it. :)

if you use the terms "in yo ho", it might give folks a different understanding altogether. it might even illegal in some places. some terminology just too dangerous to use in public or even in private for that matter. bad juju. :D

Gavin Slater
07-25-2014, 01:22 AM
Hi Mert,

Rebuttals, evidence and introduction of salient comments I did not realise the aiki
sherrif had rode into town and convened a kangaroo court. Im not sure I could produce anything
that would please the courts. But in the spirit of your request I will try.

So all stand the kangaroo court is in session.

In my first address to the court I would like to table a shock admission given in an affidavit
signed by a Takuma Hisa dated 1939. In it details a conversation held between Mr Hisa
and a Sokaku Takeda.

T - Hisa san come quickly, draw the blinds and close the door.
H - What is it Sensei?
T - Maybe you are not ready, but I want to teach you the menkyo kaiden waza.
H - Really? I have waited all my life for this!
T - Well dont get too excited. The secret is taichi!
H - What do you mean its taichi?
T - Well taichi in a hakama.
H - Well why didn't you just teach me taichi? I could have went down to old Mr Lu at the chinese
takeaway and learnt taichi.
T - Mr Lu does not have a hakama, and if I just taught you taichi then you would missed the
most important points, and just thought about taichi.

Gavin

Mert Gambito
07-25-2014, 04:40 AM
Gavin,

Look forward to continuing to address the points at hand when/if you adjourn the court.

In the meantime, I'm gonna meet up with my Takumakai acquaintance and ask him to demonstrate some of the "foot power" stuff. There are a number of techniques in Hakkoryu that utilize atemi and osae with the feet, so I'm looking forward to comparing notes.

Carsten Möllering
07-25-2014, 05:31 AM
If the use of new terminology helps people understand something I am all for it. :)I still don't see in which way it is "new"? And what actually is new?

yin in / yang yo / dantian tanden / dao dō ... same kanji ... nearly same pronounciation ...

Somehow I don't get your point.

oisin bourke
07-25-2014, 06:22 AM
Hi Carsten,

When I say uke/tori wasn't really used, I mean the terms were not really used i.e. the attacker was never called uke. They were always referenced as the enemy. Nothing to do with dealing with uke etc.

In Daito Ryu there are no throws, you don't throw the enemy away.

Maybe our understanding of aiki is very different, mine comes from Daito Ryu. I'm not sure why you use chinese terms like yin/yang and the dao when you study aikido?

I dont think 'power' is muscular strength. I just said I don't think you should want to become powerful.

Gavin

I totally agree with your points here. The problem is that most other commentators have little to no formal experience in training in Daito Ryu, hence the misinformed comments about throwing people and developing power etc. And then we have the fact that Takuma Hisa stated quite clearly that what Ueshiba was doing and what Takeda Sokaku was doing was completely different:

If people wish to make an authoritative judgement on training methods and body usage in DR, they should find a suitably qualified teacher and train under them. It's not that hard!

jonreading
07-25-2014, 08:37 AM
I'll bite.

As I understand it, the concept of dashing our partner to the ground (between our feet) is generally consistent with a variety of arts. I would argue that it is actually aikido that diverges from this trait by structuring ukemi into our waza. Sure, we can modify what we are doing, but we are usually giving our partner an avenue of compliance, instead of crumpling our partners to the floor in a heap of brokenness. So, to reverse engineer things for a minute... I think the founder changed that dynamic because it allows us to put more power into what we are doing without increasing the risk to our partner. Having been part of many very uncomfortable pins from which I was not granted an avenue of escape, I appreciate that change.

Second, I am not sure it is surprising that a heightened point of national patriotism, between two countries that have been adverse for a very long time, you would have difficulty finding references to a Japanese nationalist pointing to Chinese methodology as reference for his art. Couple that with the clear synonymy between the elements at issue; we are not talking big leaps of faith. To the tongue -and-cheek court, what's wrong with Tai Chi? Seriously? Is Tai Chi not a viable martial art with some similarity to other martial arts? Of course it is. To the converse, all the internal arts should have some core concepts that are equivalent - I am more concerned when I don't see similarity in sister arts. To Cliff's point, by extension of quality martial arts training, we should all have some foundation in what all [good] martial arts do. Sure, we may not know the words or the forms, but if you stand poorly in aikido, do you think you will stand less poor in Bagua? If you can't put aiki into your hands, do you think you can put aiki into a sword? How many different ways can you twist a wrist?

Daito Ryu and Aikido have a special relationship because Daito Ryu is the parent art of aikido. There is very strong commonality across the arts, but obviously diverse enough that they are recognized separate and distinct arts. The actual issue I see is that the perspectives are divergent, and they should be aligned. The blood in the water from the last several posts is that maybe our perspectives are incomplete or incorrect.

Cliff Judge
07-25-2014, 09:04 AM
I still don't see in which way it is "new"? And what actually is new?

yin in / yang yo / dantian tanden / dao dō ... same kanji ... nearly same pronounciation ...

Somehow I don't get your point.

Oh sorry, I thought Chinese and Japanese were different languages.

Cliff Judge
07-25-2014, 09:29 AM
To Cliff's point, by extension of quality martial arts training, we should all have some foundation in what all [good] martial arts do. Sure, we may not know the words or the forms, but if you stand poorly in aikido, do you think you will stand less poor in Bagua? If you can't put aiki into your hands, do you think you can put aiki into a sword? How many different ways can you twist a wrist?

Daito Ryu and Aikido have a special relationship because Daito Ryu is the parent art of aikido. There is very strong commonality across the arts, but obviously diverse enough that they are recognized separate and distinct arts. The actual issue I see is that the perspectives are divergent, and they should be aligned. The blood in the water from the last several posts is that maybe our perspectives are incomplete or incorrect.

Daito ryu and Aikido should definitely not converge, no way! Daito ryu is a very structured, formal system that is officially a koryu bujutsu. It really works well as a non-modern martial art. Some of the things it has to offer are timeless, but some are unabashedly era-bound. To shift its perspective is to risk uprooting it from what makes it great.

Aikido is free from the constraints on a koryu bujutsu. Everybody doing Aikido is crafting their own little system. Practitioners are free to be more creative, and are invited to innovate and express and explore at much earlier stages of training. You can find what works, you can also find things that look cool, you can find things that are just personally interesting.

This is why I don't like the idea that recent innovations in Aikido and new areas of exploration some people are pursuing are somehow "the true old way of Aikido that was lost." Insisting that Chinese and Japanes terms are like, "all the same, man," is one aspect of this.

PeterR
07-25-2014, 10:30 AM
Daito ryu and Aikido should definitely not converge, no way! Daito ryu is a very structured, formal system that is officially a koryu bujutsu. It really works well as a non-modern martial art. Some of the things it has to offer are timeless, but some are unabashedly era-bound. To shift its perspective is to risk uprooting it from what makes it great.

Aikido is free from the constraints on a koryu bujutsu. Everybody doing Aikido is crafting their own little system. Practitioners are free to be more creative, and are invited to innovate and express and explore at much earlier stages of training. You can find what works, you can also find things that look cool, you can find things that are just personally interesting.

This is why I don't like the idea that recent innovations in Aikido and new areas of exploration some people are pursuing are somehow "the true old way of Aikido that was lost." Insisting that Chinese and Japanes terms are like, "all the same, man," is one aspect of this.

Well Cliff I don't think you could call Daito-ryu an official Koryu Bujutsu although certainly the structure resembles some Koryu, just as some Aikido does. I don't think the definition of koryu or not koryu puts any restrictions on how an art is trained.

Also the connection between Chinese and Japanese, as we all know, is in the writing system. We certainly learned both Chinese and Japanese pronunciations when learning the kanji. When the kanji are the same - there is a very good chance that the meaning is also. Yes I give some room for divergence.

jonreading
07-25-2014, 10:32 AM
Daito ryu and Aikido should definitely not converge, no way! Daito ryu is a very structured, formal system that is officially a koryu bujutsu. It really works well as a non-modern martial art. Some of the things it has to offer are timeless, but some are unabashedly era-bound. To shift its perspective is to risk uprooting it from what makes it great.

Aikido is free from the constraints on a koryu bujutsu. Everybody doing Aikido is crafting their own little system. Practitioners are free to be more creative, and are invited to innovate and express and explore at much earlier stages of training. You can find what works, you can also find things that look cool, you can find things that are just personally interesting.

This is why I don't like the idea that recent innovations in Aikido and new areas of exploration some people are pursuing are somehow "the true old way of Aikido that was lost." Insisting that Chinese and Japanes terms are like, "all the same, man," is one aspect of this.

I do not advocate that Daito Ryu and Aikido should converge. I advocate that there are areas shared between the arts that are diverging (and probably should not). I also advocate that some of that divergence has damaged the transmission of aiki.

Bending back around to my original comments... If we are free to do our own thing, why do we show jujutsu? If, we are learning aiki at earlier stages of training, and we are free to practice forms of interest, why do our demos look the way they do? For claiming to be free of form, we seem to rely on it pretty heavily.

I also find it odd that while "Practitioners are free to be more creative, and are invited to innovate and express and explore at much earlier stages of training", you are put off by "...the idea that recent innovations in Aikido and new areas of exploration some people are pursuing are somehow 'the true old way of Aikido that was lost.'" Or, more specifically, why would you care about language? Is it the implication that if you are not doing it you are not going to find aiki?

This seems to be a competing perspective - that aikido should be free to do whatever; except if it's different... I think we have to accept that some aikido people want to show aiki with ribbons and ki balls, some by bouncing our partners off the wall without moving.

Some of this stuff reminds me of forced choice. Like the Apple iPhone 5C - You can be unique, as long as it's in one of these 5 colors.

Chris Li
07-25-2014, 10:41 AM
In: é™°
YIn: é™°

Yo: 陽
Yang: 陽

Tanden: äø¹ē”°
Dantien: äø¹ē”°

Compare for yourselves.

I don't think that it's a foregone conclusion that Takuma Hisa thought that what the two people were doing was completely different - here's what Yutaka Amatsu said:

Hisa san took Takeda to the dojo and asked him to teach the Asahi Newspaperā€™s guardsmen. Watching Takeda teaching, Hisa san judged that Takedaā€™s wazas were same kind as Ueshibaā€™s. But Takedaā€™s were much more developed than Ueshibaā€™s. Judging from Takedaā€™s age Hisa san believed that Takeda must have taught Ueshiba, and decided to become Takedaā€™s student.

I've heard similar statements from Hisa directly, from private sources, and it's similar to the opinions expressed by my teachers who also were students of Takuma Hisa.

Peter's right, of course, whether or not Daito-ryu is a Koryu or not is a matter of some debate. Yes, it's recognized by the major Koryu organization in Japan. OTOH - many many people, both in and out of Daito-ryu, seriously question the veracity of the purported history prior to Takeda.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
07-25-2014, 11:04 AM
Well Cliff I don't think you could call Daito-ryu an official Koryu Bujutsu although certainly the structure resembles some Koryu, just as some Aikido does. I don't think the definition of koryu or not koryu puts any restrictions on how an art is trained.

Also the connection between Chinese and Japanese, as we all know, is in the writing system. We certainly learned both Chinese and Japanese pronunciations when learning the kanji. When the kanji are the same - there is a very good chance that the meaning is also. Yes I give some room for divergence.

Official as in, recognized by the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai and Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai. The reality is a bit more open for debate.

You've lived in Japan for a long time but I don't really think you mean that the chinese reading for the kanji is pronounced the way a natrive Mandarin or Cantonese speaker would say it. So what's the deal with using the Chinese word? No big deal if people will admit that they've encountered these concepts in their Chinese martial arts training and they've started to see them as interchangeable. otherwise it just gets kind of ... appropriationy, in my opinion. Better to just make up your own terms.

PeterR
07-25-2014, 11:52 AM
Official as in, recognized by the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai and Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai. The reality is a bit more open for debate.

You've lived in Japan for a long time but I don't really think you mean that the chinese reading for the kanji is pronounced the way a natrive Mandarin or Cantonese speaker would say it. So what's the deal with using the Chinese word? No big deal if people will admit that they've encountered these concepts in their Chinese martial arts training and they've started to see them as interchangeable. otherwise it just gets kind of ... appropriationy, in my opinion. Better to just make up your own terms.

Well sure and when I first started struggling with Mandarin I was disappointed that the characters were not necessarily pronounced with the "Chinese" pronunciations I learned in Japan although in reality many were not that far off. It helps to remember that in China there was a large variation in languages/dialects (where a language becomes a dialect I have no clue) with the written language the unifying element. Japan for the longest time was part of that.

OK so that said I tend to agree that if you are going to use terms that are part of Japanese martial arts it is probably best to use the local pronunciation. Still it is completely fair to say that if the characters are the same - the meaning is also.

Cliff Judge
07-25-2014, 12:11 PM
Well sure and when I first started struggling with Mandarin I was disappointed that the characters were not necessarily pronounced with the "Chinese" pronunciations I learned in Japan although in reality many were not that far off. It helps to remember that in China there was a large variation in languages/dialects (where a language becomes a dialect I have no clue) with the written language the unifying element. Japan for the longest time was part of that.

OK so that said I tend to agree that if you are going to use terms that are part of Japanese martial arts it is probably best to use the local pronunciation. Still it is completely fair to say that if the characters are the same - the meaning is also.

I agree with that, but the thing is, just because the characters have the same dictionary meaning, does not mean there are not huge differences in connotation. i would trust the judgment of someone who had done some training in both Japanese and Chinese martial arts as to whether tanden and dantien are really the same concept. For me, people who use both terms interchangably seem to be implying that they have enough knowledge of both systems to say they are the same.

PeterR
07-25-2014, 12:47 PM
I agree with that, but the thing is, just because the characters have the same dictionary meaning, does not mean there are not huge differences in connotation. i would trust the judgment of someone who had done some training in both Japanese and Chinese martial arts as to whether tanden and dantien are really the same concept. For me, people who use both terms interchangably seem to be implying that they have enough knowledge of both systems to say they are the same.

Context is everything of course but I would say that divergence is far more likely than convergence and if the former there should be an identifiable core meaning.

oisin bourke
07-25-2014, 01:18 PM
Compare for yourselves.

I don't think that it's a foregone conclusion that Takuma Hisa thought that what the two people were doing was completely different - here's what Yutaka Amatsu said:

I've heard similar statements from Hisa directly, from private sources, and it's similar to the opinions expressed by my teachers who also were students of Takuma Hisa.



Well Takeda, Hisa and his students have been pretty definite that there was enough difference between the methodology to term the two arts "Takeda Ryu" and "Ueshiba Ryu". And Ueshiba renamed his art. I would submit that, taking into the contemporary descriptions of takeda and ueshiba, this almost certainly refers differences in body methodology. This would mean that Ueshiba was doing something essentially different in terms of body usage than Takeda and the other of takeda's higher level students who continued to teach Daito ryu. In other words, Ueshiba was teaching something different from DR from the 1930s.
Of course, this is only a problem if you try to introduce what you believe are advanced level teachings of DR/body methodology into aikido, when it's clear that this wasn't what ueshiba taught/practiced (for whatever reason).

Chris Li
07-25-2014, 01:41 PM
Well Takeda, Hisa and his students have been pretty definite that there was enough difference between the methodology to term the two arts "Takeda Ryu" and "Ueshiba Ryu". And Ueshiba renamed his art. I would submit that, taking into the contemporary descriptions of takeda and ueshiba, this almost certainly refers differences in body methodology. This would mean that Ueshiba was doing something essentially different in terms of body usage than Takeda and the other of takeda's higher level students who continued to teach Daito ryu. In other words, Ueshiba was teaching something different from DR from the 1930s.
Of course, this is only a problem if you try to introduce what you believe are advanced level teachings of DR/body methodology into aikido, when it's clear that this wasn't what ueshiba taught/practiced (for whatever reason).

Well there was quite a bit going on with the naming, so it's hardly that simple. Additionally, "Takeda-ryu" and "Ueshiba-ryu" is hardly definitive in and of itself (all that really indicates linguistically is the "style" of that particular person) - the Takumakai, for example, often uses "Aikido" to describe itself in Japan.

Takeda, FWIW, didn't change what Ueshiba had been teaching at the Asahi dojo - he acknowledged that they had already studied the basics and built upon the foundation, which is quite different.

Now, you've been very clear that you don't think that people in Aikido should comment on Daito-ryu without a high level of initiation in that art. Why do you feel free to comment on Aikido and what Ueshiba taught and practiced without a high level of initiation in that art? Personally, I don't care, but you can't have it both ways.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
07-25-2014, 01:48 PM
Well there was quite a bit going on with the naming, so it's hardly that simple. Additionally, "Takeda-ryu" and "Ueshiba-ryu" is hardly definitive in and of itself (all that really indicates linguistically is the "style" of that particular person) - the Takumakai, for example, often uses "Aikido" to describe itself in Japan.

First DR group I ran into was at Tsukuba Daigaku. They introduced themselves to me as an Aikido group - a matter of convenience I suspect.

Chris Li
07-25-2014, 01:54 PM
First DR group I ran into was at Tsukuba Daigaku. They introduced themselves to me as an Aikido group - a matter of convenience I suspect.

That's what I'm saying - the name may mean something, or it may mean nothing at all - it's tricky to read too much into it when there are multiple issues in play.

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
07-25-2014, 02:54 PM
Well there was quite a bit going on with the naming, so it's hardly that simple. Additionally, "Takeda-ryu" and "Ueshiba-ryu" is hardly definitive in and of itself (all that really indicates linguistically is the "style" of that particular person) - the Takumakai, for example, often uses "Aikido" to describe itself in Japan.

Takeda, FWIW, didn't change what Ueshiba had been teaching at the Asahi dojo - he acknowledged that they had already studied the basics and built upon the foundation, which is quite different.

Now, you've been very clear that you don't think that people in Aikido should comment on Daito-ryu without a high level of initiation in that art. Why do you feel free to comment on Aikido and what Ueshiba taught and practiced without a high level of initiation in that art? Personally, I don't care, but you can't have it both ways.

Best,

Chris

There's quite a bit going on regarding Amatsu and Hisa's comments about what Takeda teaching was more "advanced" or whatever too IMO. Anyway, I'm not arguing with you over the "basics" I'm pointing out that Takeda and Hisa quite clearly stated that Ueshiba didn't teach (or wasn't privy to) the advanced levels of the art.

As to commenting on aikido, It's pretty obvious: Takeda said it, Hisa sad it, Amatsu said it, so take it up with them. Ueshiba learned DR to a certain level, and then went his own way. As to what exactly Ueshiba taught,(and why) have my opinions, but the bottom line is that he wasn't (according to the above people) disseminating the advanced levels of DR. Nothing to do with me, so don't make it personal.

Chris Li
07-25-2014, 03:11 PM
As to commenting on aikido, It's pretty obvious: Takeda said it, Hisa sad it, Amatsu said it, so take it up with them. Ueshiba learned DR to a certain level, and then went his own way. As to what exactly Ueshiba taught,(and why) have my opinions, but the bottom line is that he wasn't (according to the above people) disseminating the advanced levels of DR. Nothing to do with me, so don't make it personal.

Well, you're posting your own conclusions and citing their statements in support - and other people are doing similar things with reference to Daito-ryu. The difference is that no one is saying that you ought not to be commenting on Aikido because of your lack of experience in that art. As I said, you really can't have it both ways.

Hisa said (essentially) that Takeda was doing things at a higher level than Ueshiba. That's a no brainer for me - if my teachers walk in the door I would certainly hope that they're teaching and functioning at a higher level than I am, why else would they be my teachers?

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
07-25-2014, 04:21 PM
Well, you're posting your own conclusions and citing their statements in support - and other people are doing similar things with reference to Daito-ryu. The difference is that no one is saying that you ought not to be commenting on Aikido because of your lack of experience in that art. As I said, you really can't have it both ways.

Hisa said (essentially) that Takeda was doing things at a higher level than Ueshiba. That's a no brainer for me - if my teachers walk in the door I would certainly hope that they're teaching and functioning at a higher level than I am, why else would they be my teachers?

Best,

Chris

You are misrepresenting my comments.

Amatsu said this:

"It is my personal opinion, I think there are three types of Daito-ryu. One is Aikido, Ueshiba-sensei wanted to make his Aikido popular, even children and aged people can enjoy it, so he abandoned foot skill. As Hisa taught me, foot has more power than arm, so practising is painful, it may be an obstacle to make Aikido popular, so Ueshiba abandoned it. "

So Ueshiba changed a methodology that is not MY opinon, that is Amatsu"s.

Hisa said

"Hisa san told me. There are two types of Daitoryu, one is Takeda Sokaku’s and the other is Ueshiba Morihei’s. Takeda Sokuku’s is the original one but for making Daitoryu popular Ueshiba Morihei’s is better. As it is softer and more beautiful. Takeda’s is more painful and not as beautiful. He taught Ueshiba’s style in his dojo because students were all citizens, whereas he was teaching me Takeda’s because I was a journalist at the Asahi.

One difference between Takeda’s and Ueshiba’s is that in Takeda’s you use your legs. A leg is more powerful than an arm hence attack the enemy’s arm with your powerful legs. The objective is the joints, and to attack them with you leg. When enemy is standing and moving freely it is difficult to attack the joints with your legs, so throw the enemy down to your feet and use your legs. Hence Takeda’s has no throw away technique."

So Ueshiba changed the methodology. That's HISA'S opinion, not mine. There is an obvious change in methodology. Ueshiba even changed the name of the art!

It is also not a simple matter of the teacher being better than the student.Takeda had more advanced teachings than Ueshiba was privy to. Ueshba split from his teacher before he got these teachings. That is not "my" opinon either, that s Hisa's and Takeda's.

These are all stated facts, so stop trying to pin the "spin" on me. Take it up with them and the takumakai. They also happen to support previous statements refuting comments about throws in DR, so they do indeed point to people with insufficient experience of DR commenting as if what they they say is fact (as opposed to qualifying their statements by highlighting that this is their opinion).

I'm not going to carry this on further. I'm just repeating myself at this stage, and readers can make their own minds up, f so inclined.

Chris Li
07-25-2014, 04:40 PM
So Ueshiba changed the methodology. That's HISA'S opinion, not mine.

You missed the quote from Amatsu where he said:

Hisa san judged that Takedaā€™s wazas were same kind as Ueshibaā€™s.

In any case, everybody's free to draw their own conclusions - and make their own statements about their conclusions, as you have. Which is precisely my point.

Posting somebody else statement to prove or illustrate a point implies that you agree with that point, does it not? Take some responsibility for that.

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 01:43 AM
You missed the quote from Amatsu where he said:

In any case, everybody's free to draw their own conclusions - and make their own statements about their conclusions, as you have. Which is precisely my point.

Posting somebody else statement to prove or illustrate a point implies that you agree with that point, does it not? Take some responsibility for that.

Best,

Chris

Once again you're cherry picking. Takeda, Hisa and the takumakai are on record stating that Ueshiba wasn't privy to some teachings. With that in mind, it's not unreasonable to ascribe the same point to Amatsu's above statement. In any event, it's a pretty open and vague statement, so if you want to claim it for whatever purpose, off you go.It still doesn't change the basic point.

On your second point, well, If you held Mert and others earlier on this thread to the same standard, I wouldn't have even posted. Unfortunately, Mert and Carsten posted assertions about DR not as their own qualified opinions, but presented them pretty much as undisputed. This comes up again and again in these kind of threads BTW. I posted supporting Grant's statements about DR. But sure, if people want to qualify their statements as being their own opinions based on their limited knowledge, rather than making assumptions, I'd fully encourage them to do so. It would get rid of a lot of fractiousness in these debates IMO.

On your final point, stop making this personal. The fact is that Ueshiba was not privy to advanced level teachngs in DR, according to Takeda, Hisa and the Takumakai, so if people are going to use their statements to support their own opinions/points of view, this has to be into account as well, as opposed to being ignored. There's no getting around it.

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 02:03 AM
The fact is that Ueshiba was not privy to advanced level teachngs in DR, according to Takeda, Hisa and the Takumakai, in addition, he also made significant changes in methodology to the art from the 1930s at least. These changes almost certainly involved changes in body methodology, as what he was doing was jujutsu (a body to body based art). so if people are going to use their statements to support their own opinions/points of view, this has to be into account as well, as opposed to being ignored. There's no getting around it.

I edited the above.

Chris Li
07-26-2014, 02:21 AM
Once again you're cherry picking. Takeda, Hisa and the takumakai are on record stating that Ueshiba wasn't privy to some teachings. With that in mind, it's not unreasonable to ascribe the same point to Amatsu's above statement. In any event, it's a pretty open and vague statement, so if you want to claim it for whatever purpose, off you go.It still doesn't change the basic point.

On your second point, well, If you held Mert and others earlier on this thread to the same standard, I wouldn't have even posted. Unfortunately, Mert and Carsten posted assertions about DR not as their own qualified opinions, but presented them pretty much as undisputed. This comes up again and again in these kind of threads BTW. I posted supporting Grant's statements about DR. But sure, if people want to qualify their statements as being their own opinions based on their limited knowledge, rather than making assumptions, I'd fully encourage them to do so. It would get rid of a lot of fractiousness in these debates IMO.

On your final point, stop making this personal. The fact is that Ueshiba was not privy to advanced level teachngs in DR, according to Takeda, Hisa and the Takumakai, so if people are going to use their statements to support their own opinions/points of view, this has to be into account as well, as opposed to being ignored. There's no getting around it.

Oisin, all that I said was that I don't think that it is a foregone conclusion, and I stated my reasons.

You've missed my entire point on the "standards" thing - which only came up because you brought it up...as you have on other forums.

I really don't care what anybody's qualifications here - they may mean something, or it may not, there's really no way to say. My point was simply to point out your double standard.

If Mert and Carsten are "unqualified" to comment on Daito-ryu then you are certainly unqualified to comment on Ueshiba.

Or, alternatively, we could leave all that on the side and just focus on the arguments that are actually being presented.

Imagine that, a conversation based on the arguments being made, rather than the people making the arguments...

Best,

Chris

Carsten Möllering
07-26-2014, 02:53 AM
... Carsten posted assertions about DR ... I have never posted any assertion about Daitō ryū.

In my first (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=338447&postcount=38) and my second (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=338475&postcount=45) post I was not aware that Gavin was talking from a Daitō ryū standpoint. In fact I thought of him as someone, who had just begun to practice a very soft and "loving" way of aikidō.
As soon as I realized where he is coming from (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=338477&postcount=47) I wrote: "Thank you! I was completely on the wrong track!"

What I indeed stated was - and is - that I use to practice on a regular base with a student of Endō sensei who is teaching Daitō ryū Roppokai. And with students of his, who also use to practice with Endō sensei. And that at least our understandig of aiki "goes together".

I never meant to claim to know anything about Daitō ryū. Like I wouldn't talk about any other budō I don't practice myself or am not involved in in which way ever.
True: I am to blame for not having made that more clear but all my following statements refer to the aikidō I myself practice.

I hope that rereading my comments with this in mind might help to relase some tension?

...............................

Besides that ...
I am very interested in the relation of Japanese budō and especially the understanding of Ueshiba Morihei of aiki and the Chinese roots of this understanding. I am researching into this for some time now (on my level of "scholarship"). And I was completely perplexed when I started to realize how deep and intense these relations were.
In a very short formula. I think - besides other sources - Ueshiba was heavily influenced by the thinking patterns of internal alchemy of Quanzhen Daoism.
The knowledge, the texts, the practice was not only available in Japan and for him. But what's more, as far as I understand it by now, was very alive in Japan.

One last simple point, not to prove something, just to have in mind also:
When I look up in and yō in my English or my German dictionary of Japanese language, they both give me yin and yang. Which seem to have become loanword by now. So in my classes I don't mean to speak Chinese when I'm using yin and yang for in yō. But I am translating in yō to "German".

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 03:43 AM
Oisin, all that I said was that I don't think that it is a foregone conclusion, and I stated my reasons.

You've missed my entire point on the "standards" thing - which only came up because you brought it up...as you have on other forums.

I really don't care what anybody's qualifications here - they may mean something, or it may not, there's really no way to say. My point was simply to point out your double standard.

If Mert and Carsten are "unqualified" to comment on Daito-ryu then you are certainly unqualified to comment on Ueshiba.

Or, alternatively, we could leave all that on the side and just focus on the arguments that are actually being presented.

Imagine that, a conversation based on the arguments being made, rather than the people making the arguments...

Best,

Chris

A note on qualifications. I don't think I ever stated that people need to be "qualified" to comment on an art . If I did, I certainly didn't mean that. What I was getting at is that if people are going to offer an opinion on arts, they need to qualify their arguments to their extent of exposure (or not) to said arts, as opposed to presenting their opinions as a 'fait accompli".
Of course anyone is free to voice their opinions and present evidence. But repeatedly, assertions are made regarding Dr and DR aiki by people with little or no direct experience of the art. And of course, the same courtesy should be extended to other arts, be it aikido, koryu or whatever. People should be clear on the extent of their exposure (or not) when they are making points IMO. Just to be clear for people reading these posts. It would make things a lot easier to understand. BTW, the assertions made about Ueshiba were actually made by those who practiced with him and/or Hisa/Takeda.

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 03:46 AM
I have never posted any assertion about Daitō ryū.

What I indeed stated was - and is - that I use to practice on a regular base with a student of Endō sensei who is teaching Daitō ryū Roppokai. And with students of his, who also use to practice with Endō sensei. And that at least our understandig of aiki "goes together".



Thanks for your post, Carsten. On this point, Would you say what you are doing is essentially the same?

Mert Gambito
07-26-2014, 06:20 AM
OK, let's keep this simple and bring this back to the major fork in the road that Gavin took us down with the introduction of Daito-ryu into this thread.

"Power" as goal or not of "Daito-ryu":
Citations with quotes clearly verifying that Hisa felt students should seek at least one specific type of "power" in his variant of the art, while differentiating that power from others.
Still waiting for a clarification of the use of the term "internal strength", as stated on the Australian Takumakai website. That could lead to a very worthwhile discussion, so let's see if it materializes.

As for lack of throws, and not throwing people away:
Here's a 1939 photo of Hisa, courtesy of Aikido Journal, throwing someone -- away. It's an exception to the norm in Daito-ryu, sure, but nonetheless, there it is, literally in black and white.
http://blog.aikidojournal.com/media/hisa-takuma-c1939.jpg
Besides, here's what the Australian Takumakai website has to say on the topic of throws, among other things:
Through harmonisation and the application of Aiki the practitioner is able to respond naturally and appropriately to a range of threat levels utilising evasion, redirection, atemi, locks, throws and pins. Nonetheless, I'm all for hearing a description of techniques that cause people to leave their feet and land in the same spot or two meters away that's semantically different than the word "throw".I agree the term, like "power" doesn't adequately capture all the nuances of what occurs between training partners, in this case when doing "nage-waza".

Bernd Lehnen
07-26-2014, 07:38 AM
If there are no throws, what's Hakaru Mori doing in this video? Ueshiba's contribution ?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuYnTdqOkZA



Best,
Bernd

Zoe
07-26-2014, 09:11 AM
The demonstrations run from jujutsu to aki-jujutsu to aiki-no-jutsu. From 5:20 onward Mori is using aiki-no-jutsu and throwing people away. One of the characteristics of aiki-no-jutsu are of course, aiki as control with no leg or foot power. I was taught that Aiki-no jutsu is the higher level throws. I was also shown that in the Ropokai almost all of the techniques were of the aiki-no-jutsu level (higher level) and lack leg or foot power.

I think we should consider that Ueshiba, like Mori here, and Okomoto of the Ropokai, all decided to use the upper level techniques of the art demonstrating pure aiki as the foundation of their arts. Therefore I think the arguments for leg power are from the lower level teachings of the art, mostly by lower level students.
Zoe

Chris Li
07-26-2014, 11:35 AM
A note on qualifications. I don't think I ever stated that people need to be "qualified" to comment on an art . If I did, I certainly didn't mean that. What I was getting at is that if people are going to offer an opinion on arts, they need to qualify their arguments to their extent of exposure (or not) to said arts, as opposed to presenting their opinions as a 'fait accompli".
Of course anyone is free to voice their opinions and present evidence. But repeatedly, assertions are made regarding Dr and DR aiki by people with little or no direct experience of the art. And of course, the same courtesy should be extended to other arts, be it aikido, koryu or whatever. People should be clear on the extent of their exposure (or not) when they are making points IMO. Just to be clear for people reading these posts. It would make things a lot easier to understand. BTW, the assertions made about Ueshiba were actually made by those who practiced with him and/or Hisa/Takeda.

I notice that you presented your conclusions as a 'fait accompli", as fact (you actually used the word "fact"), and there was nowhere in that comment or before that you qualified your argument with your experiences (which were never stated on this thread):

IAnd then we have the fact that Takuma Hisa stated quite clearly that what Ueshiba was doing and what Takeda Sokaku was doing was completely different

I didn't (and don't) believe that to be completely accurate, and that's when I replied:


I don't think that it's a foregone conclusion that Takuma Hisa thought that what the two people were doing was completely different

Further, you went on to make conclusions about what Ueshiba was doing:

Well Takeda, Hisa and his students have been pretty definite that there was enough difference between the methodology to term the two arts "Takeda Ryu" and "Ueshiba Ryu". And Ueshiba renamed his art. I would submit that, taking into the contemporary descriptions of takeda and ueshiba, this almost certainly refers differences in body methodology. This would mean that Ueshiba was doing something essentially different in terms of body usage than Takeda and the other of takeda's higher level students who continued to teach Daito ryu. In other words, Ueshiba was teaching something different from DR from the 1930s.
Of course, this is only a problem if you try to introduce what you believe are advanced level teachings of DR/body methodology into aikido, when it's clear that this wasn't what ueshiba taught/practiced (for whatever reason).

Never on this thread have you stated your qualifications to make such a statement, or "qualified your argument as to the extent your of exposure (or not) to said arts" - just asked that others do so.

I'm not so much arguing about your statements (which I think is a complex discussion, and not nearly as simple as you have stated) as I am about the double standard here.

In any case, I think that demanding a resume from anybody making a posting on an internet forum is a losing proposition. Even many of the "qualified" Daito-ryu folks who participate in these discussions are often, in reality, people with realatively little experience in the art who have no business under the kind of standard you're talking about making any kind of statements at all.

Why don't we stick to discussiing the statements as posted and leave it at that?

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 12:03 PM
I notice that you presented your conclusions as a 'fait accompli", as fact (you actually used the word "fact"), and there was nowhere in that comment or before that you qualified your argument with your experiences (which were never stated on this thread):

I didn't (and don't) believe that to be completely accurate, and that's when I replied:

Further, you went on to make conclusions about what Ueshiba was doing:

Never on this thread have you stated your qualifications to make such a statement, or "qualified your argument as to the extent your of exposure (or not) to said arts" - just asked that others do so.

I'm not so much arguing about your statements (which I think is a complex discussion, and not nearly as simple as you have stated) as I am about the double standard here.

In any case, I think that demanding a resume from anybody making a posting on an internet forum is a losing proposition. Even many of the "qualified" Daito-ryu folks who participate in these discussions are often, in reality, people with realatively little experience in the art who have no business under the kind of standard you're talking about making any kind of statements at all.

Why don't we stick to discussiing the statements as posted and leave it at that?

Best,

Chris

TBH, Chris I wouldn't be so strident in my opinions if others weren't. I probably wouldn't post at all As I've said, this whole narrative of Ueshiba doing IP skills culled from DR which are culled from CMA is indeed presented as a done deal in these discussions, repeatedly. I have brought up the training situation with Takda/hisa to highlight that a basic tenet of this assertion (Ueshiba's body training methodology) wasn't really linked to inner level DR based on evidence of people who were there, yet you keep trying to pin this as "my" opinion. This is just distracting from the main points.

I also haven't "demanded a resume", but you could be right. If people won't be up front about their training history when posting opinions on DR and aiki related stuff, discussions probably aren't going to go anywhere. BTW, Mert raised "qualifcations", when people disagreed with his points, and Zoe has just done the same. Why not go after them? I have no problem posting my training history. And You keep on going on about being "qualified" to post when I never said that at all. But look, you've made your point about this repeatedly. It really has nothing to do with the points raised in the thread, so why not drop it?

I'm actually gong to be offline for the bones of a week anyway.

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 12:06 PM
I think the arguments for leg power are from the lower level teachings of the art, mostly by lower level students.
Zoe

I think the arguments for "power" are from the lower level teachings, be it leg or whatever.

Chris Li
07-26-2014, 12:21 PM
TBH, Chris I wouldn't be so strident in my opinions if others weren't. I probably wouldn't post at all As I've said, this whole narrative of Ueshiba doing IP skills culled from DR which are culled from CMA is indeed presented as a done deal in these discussions, repeatedly. I have brought up the training situation with Takda/hisa to highlight that a basic tenet of this assertion (Ueshiba's body training methodology) wasn't really linked to inner level DR based on evidence of people who were there, yet you keep trying to pin this as "my" opinion. This is just distracting from the main points.

I also haven't "demanded a resume", but you could be right. If people won't be up front about their training history when posting opinions on DR and aiki related stuff, discussions probably aren't going to go anywhere. BTW, Mert raised "qualifcations", when people disagreed with his points, and Zoe has just done the same. Why not go after them? I have no problem posting my training history. And You keep on going on about being "qualified" to post when I never said that at all. But look, you've made your point about this repeatedly. It really has nothing to do with the points raised in the thread, so why not drop it?

I'm actually gong to be offline for the bones of a week anyway.

Well, this is the leading edge of a discussion (with many of the same players) that has been going on for close to 20 years now. It's not surprising, in that context, that many of the statements appear to be presented as a "done deal". I think that you're just going to have to live with that.

It seems to me that you stated your opinion quite clearly:


Of course, this is only a problem if you try to introduce what you believe are advanced level teachings of DR/body methodology into aikido, when it's clear that this wasn't what ueshiba taught/practiced (for whatever reason).

As I said before, take responsibility for your own postings.

FWIW, I'm not objecting to you (or anybody else) expressing an opinion about Ueshiba, regardless of qualification.

As to your Takeda/Hisa point - I can make the exact same arguments without Ueshiba in the equation, without discussing how much Ueshiba was or wasn't taught. It doesn't really affect the base argument. There have been a series of book on Takeda published in Japan that are researching the very same argument - without Ueshiba in the equation.

I don't remember Mert demanding qualifications in order to post an opinion, although he inquired at one point for clarification (I don't think there's anything wrong with that), and I certainly don't read Zoe's statement as anything close to that.

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
07-26-2014, 01:18 PM
As I said before, take responsibility for your own postings.

I don't remember Mert demanding qualifications in order to post an opinion, although he inquired at one point for clarification (I don't think there's anything wrong with that), and I certainly don't read Zoe's statement as anything close to that.

Best,

Chris

Whatever Chris, still trying to make it personal. And for the Millionth time, I have never "demanded qualifications" of someone before posting. You consistently misrepresent my comments. As for the other comments, more double standards from you. I'm finished here.

Gavin Slater
07-28-2014, 05:07 PM
Hi,

My posts on this were just to highlight what it seems is a very different approach from what I learnt.

I was always told from the very beginning that it is not a good idea to WANT to become powerful, the more powerful you WANT to be, the enemy does the same. The main purpose of Daito Ryu is to defeat the enemy, not make them stronger.

My teacher always told me, if you think you are powerful go to a good judo/jujutsu dojo, or mma gym and show them how powerful you are. Do you think they will care about your dantien? Aiki should set you free, not make you become obsessed with power. My teacher actually warned me against doing that and told me about people who had done that, and it didn't end too well for them.

The photo you showed of Hisa Sensei, that is him doing Ueshiba Ryu. Ueshiba Sensei changed what he learnt from Takeda Sensei and introduced throwing people away. Hisa Sensei had two clubs in Osaka; the Kansai Aikido Club and the Asahi Dojo. What he taught at the Asahi Dojo was different.

Gavin

Chris Li
07-28-2014, 05:22 PM
Hi,

My posts on this were just to highlight what it seems is a very different approach from what I learnt.

I was always told from the very beginning that it is not a good idea to WANT to become powerful, the more powerful you WANT to be, the enemy does the same. The main purpose of Daito Ryu is to defeat the enemy, not make them stronger.

My teacher always told me, if you think you are powerful go to a good judo/jujutsu dojo, or mma gym and show them how powerful you are. Do you think they will care about your dantien? Aiki should set you free, not make you become obsessed with power. My teacher actually warned me against doing that and told me about people who had done that, and it didn't end too well for them.

The photo you showed of Hisa Sensei, that is him doing Ueshiba Ryu. Ueshiba Sensei changed what he learnt from Takeda Sensei and introduced throwing people away. Hisa Sensei had two clubs in Osaka; the Kansai Aikido Club and the Asahi Dojo. What he taught at the Asahi Dojo was different.

Gavin

The problem we have here is similar to what often happens with discussions about "Aiki" - people make statements based on different definitions of what they are talking about (in this case "power") and, inevitably, end up disagreeing.

FWIW, we have a lot of folks who do quite well in Judo and MMA (for some of our folks it's their primary practice), and don't seem to have been hampered in the least, dantien or no.

Best,

Chris

Erick Mead
07-28-2014, 06:36 PM
The problem we have here is similar to what often happens with discussions about "Aiki" - people make statements based on different definitions of what they are talking about (in this case "power") and, inevitably, end up disagreeing. This is one of the reasons I have worked (here -- and in my own training and conceptual grasp) to reduce these concepts as much as possible to their objective physical and biomechanical aspects - to remove such pernicious ambiguities of reference in ill-defined terms.

IHTBF is one thing -- but then you still have the problem of wondering how to extend and apply what it is you just "felt" -- or -- even more problematically thought you felt. The problem is that these mechanisms play demonstrable tricks with the (quite severe) lags between conscious neurological perception and voluntary response on the one hand (slow) -- and subliminal neuro-skeleto-muscular cues for reflexive action (order of magnitude faster).

In these settings IHTBF is of less use than what one might commonly assume. Your "feeling" is not normally attuned to track these skewed temporal sequences (and subconscious neuro-mechanical cues) . Without a conceptual grasp of the objective mechanisms one cannot easily judge what is happening because perceived cause and effect are jumbled by the mismatches in timing between each type of these perceptions and their prompted actions -- and their resulting interplay (and exploitation). It is precisely these disruptive features at such a basic physiological level that makes it a superlative addition to any physical martial engagement.

RonRagusa
07-28-2014, 10:27 PM
IHTBF is one thing -- but then you still have the problem of wondering how to extend and apply what it is you just "felt" -- or -- even more problematically thought you felt.

But that's exactly what training is engendered to elicit, the ability to extend and apply correct feeling to different tasks. Waza and ki exercises are the tools employed to explore the feelings associated with a coordinated mind and body. Repetitive practice allows one to experiment with how varying degrees of mind/body coordination influences performance.

The problem is that these mechanisms play demonstrable tricks with the (quite severe) lags between conscious neurological perception and voluntary response on the one hand (slow) -- and subliminal neuro-skeleto-muscular cues for reflexive action (order of magnitude faster).

You haven't stated what the "mechanisms" you mentioned above are, but that is of no matter. Performance that is mind/body driven is neither wholly voluntary or reflexive. Nor is it a simple amalgamation of both. Unfortunately I don't have the terms to state clearly what I'm trying to say, but I know what I feel and that is: performance that arises from a coordinated mind and body is a synergy of both voluntary response and reflexive action whereby the gap separating the two is considerably narrowed.

Your "feeling" is not normally attuned to track these skewed temporal sequences (and subconscious neuro-mechanical cues) . Without a conceptual grasp of the objective mechanisms one cannot easily judge what is happening because perceived cause and effect are jumbled by the mismatches in timing between each type of these perceptions and their prompted actions -- and their resulting interplay (and exploitation).

As an intellectual exercise I see the value of casting what we are learning in the mold of known, familiar patterns. But for me, and I can speak only for myself, I learn best by doing... and doing again... and again... Each repetition provides feedback that I use to enhance correct feeling and strengthen mind/body coordination.

I do appreciate your analyses Erick, though admittedly a lot of what you post goes over my head and I just don't see how to apply what I do follow to practical training. But you definitely spur my thought processes which drives me to keep looking deeper to broaden my understanding.

Ron

Mert Gambito
07-29-2014, 01:17 PM
Hi,

My posts on this were just to highlight what it seems is a very different approach from what I learnt.

I was always told from the very beginning that it is not a good idea to WANT to become powerful, the more powerful you WANT to be, the enemy does the same. The main purpose of Daito Ryu is to defeat the enemy, not make them stronger.

My teacher always told me, if you think you are powerful go to a good judo/jujutsu dojo, or mma gym and show them how powerful you are. Do you think they will care about your dantien? Aiki should set you free, not make you become obsessed with power. My teacher actually warned me against doing that and told me about people who had done that, and it didn't end too well for them.
Gavin,

Thank you for revisiting your intentions for contributing to this thread: the additional semantics actually make a big difference! Those seeking to develop "internal power", in particular through the Daito-ryu-based aiki-taiso discussed over the years here, are after the same objective: to not present "power" in a manner that induces the uke/attacker to become stronger. The body skills negate the "ability" (maybe that's a better word for what we're trying to quantify and qualify here) of the attacker while amplifying one's own, and the attacker never feels the normal ramp-up of "power" to meet his/her attack that results in a physical and emotional escalation of the clash.

Now, as for taking one's ability out for a spin against trained fighters, it is certainly smart to not equate one skill (e.g. IP) with another (fighting). That said, the most notable Daito-ryu men saw no problem dispatching fighters via the ability discussed in the preceding paragraph. That is a key reason why the art in its various flavors and flows (including aikido) wasn't relegated to the history books in the former half of the 20th century.

That ability is still demonstrable today, but then as now is extremely rare. For example, many folks have seen the photos of Dan Harden demonstrating Aiki-Age on Scott Burke recently in Hawaii (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/gallery/picture/1062-dan_harden_hawaii_july_2014_176/category/26-dan_harden_in_hawaii_july_2014_workshops). Why head-butt the guy, or bite is ear -- tactics that could very likely create the escalation you rightly state to avoid -- when you can simply use high-level aiki, if it's in your repertoire (also, imagine that same ability to move a man of Scott's size channeled into a throw or atemi if things don't end there)?

The photo you showed of Hisa Sensei, that is him doing Ueshiba Ryu. Ueshiba Sensei changed what he learnt from Takeda Sensei and introduced throwing people away. Hisa Sensei had two clubs in Osaka; the Kansai Aikido Club and the Asahi Dojo. What he taught at the Asahi Dojo was different.
OK, taking that at face value, Ueshiba's contributions to the Asahi lineage are still Daito-ryu (not aikido) canon. There certainly is tactical value in the relatively few Daito-ryu jujutsu throws that aren't designed to go straight down for the usual intended arm and leg strikes to finish off the attacker. Sometimes using the attacker as a projectile (e.g. maybe toward a nearby wall or precipice) is a better game-ender than the ground in a given situation.

Gavin Slater
07-29-2014, 09:14 PM
Hi Mert,

I just dont think aiki is something you get more and more of. So when you say high level aiki I get the impression that you think it is something you keep building on?

Yes that is a very impressive photo of Dan Harden doing 'aiki-age'. My teacher never used that term, and he said Hisa Sensei never used that term to him either. I dont think that term exists in Takeda Ryu, but there are really no terms or names. Maybe it is a modern term.

Yes Ueshiba Sensei had a very important contribution to Daito Ryu. Although at the time the students never knew they were learning Daito Ryu. They were just learning Ueshiba's martial art i.e. Ueshiba Ryu, he never told them the name, but he had started to change towards aikido during that time. If you look at the Asahi film that is very different to Takeda Ryu.

When Takeda Sensei arrived he did re-teach alot of the waza in the early books that did throw away waza. I remember my teacher telling me all of the time, in Ueshiba Ryu they did it like this, but Takeda Sensei told them do it differently. The waza were very different there is one in particular in Ueshiba Ryu in the 5th book I think, it was like the throw kaiten nage in aikido, but Takeda Sensei did not like that throw. The version he taught is completely different.

Gavin

Chris Li
07-29-2014, 10:02 PM
Yes that is a very impressive photo of Dan Harden doing 'aiki-age'. My teacher never used that term, and he said Hisa Sensei never used that term to him either. I dont think that term exists in Takeda Ryu, but there are really no terms or names. Maybe it is a modern term.

Just off of the top of my head - here (http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~DE6S-UMI/jtkm0768.htm) and here (http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~DE6S-UMI/jtkm0769.htm) the Takumakai's Hakaru Mori uses the term "aiki-age". Seigo Okamoto used the term, and of course, Sagawa Yukiyoshi also used the term frequently (and he pre-dates Takuma HIsa in Daito-ryu). That's three different lines that really only have Takeda as a common denominator....

Best,

Chris

kewms
07-29-2014, 11:48 PM
Hi Mert,

I just dont think aiki is something you get more and more of. So when you say high level aiki I get the impression that you think it is something you keep building on?

Yes that is a very impressive photo of Dan Harden doing 'aiki-age'. My teacher never used that term, and he said Hisa Sensei never used that term to him either. I dont think that term exists in Takeda Ryu, but there are really no terms or names. Maybe it is a modern term.


Why wouldn't it be possible to develop a deeper understanding of aiki, just like any other body skill?

I first heard the term "aiki-age" from a student of Okamoto Sensei's.

Katherine

Gavin Slater
07-30-2014, 05:30 AM
Hi,

What Hisa Sensei taught at the Asahi Dojo was a bit different. Amatsu Sensei said he was never taught anything called aiki age from Hisa Sensei.

Gavin

Bernd Lehnen
07-30-2014, 06:25 AM
Hello Gavin,

Hi Mert,

I just dont think aiki is something you get more and more of. So when you say high level aiki I get the impression that you think it is something you keep building on?

Yes that is a very impressive photo of Dan Harden doing 'aiki-age'. My teacher never used that term, and he said Hisa Sensei never used that term to him either. I dont think that term exists in Takeda Ryu, but there are really no terms or names. Maybe it is a modern term.

Yes Ueshiba Sensei had a very important contribution to Daito Ryu. Although at the time the students never knew they were learning Daito Ryu. They were just learning Ueshiba's martial art i.e. Ueshiba Ryu, he never told them the name, but he had started to change towards aikido during that time. If you look at the Asahi film that is very different to Takeda Ryu.

When Takeda Sensei arrived he did re-teach alot of the waza in the early books that did throw away waza. I remember my teacher telling me all of the time, in Ueshiba Ryu they did it like this, but Takeda Sensei told them do it differently. The waza were very different there is one in particular in Ueshiba Ryu in the 5th book I think, it was like the throw kaiten nage in aikido, but Takeda Sensei did not like that throw. The version he taught is completely different.

Gavin

Possibly, probably….

In any case I don't see therein any contradiction to what Zoe wrote here:

....One of the characteristics of aiki-no-jutsu are of course, aiki as control with no leg or foot power. I was taught that Aiki-no jutsu is the higher level throws. I was also shown that in the Ropokai almost all of the techniques were of the aiki-no-jutsu level (higher level) and lack leg or foot power.

I think we should consider that Ueshiba, like Mori here, and Okomoto of the Ropokai, all decided to use the upper level techniques of the art demonstrating pure aiki as the foundation of their arts.....


In fact, throwing, done by Ueshiba, Hakaru Mori or Okamoto, to the eyes of those who had got the right instruction and were expected to know what to look for, may have been meant to show them one of the purest forms of aiki; this in the context of Budo but largely deprived of any aspect of real fighting.

Best,
Bernd

Cliff Judge
07-30-2014, 06:58 AM
Why wouldn't it be possible to develop a deeper understanding of aiki, just like any other body skill?

I first heard the term "aiki-age" from a student of Okamoto Sensei's.

Katherine

What if Aiki isn't a body skill?

Zoe
07-30-2014, 08:10 AM
Hakaru Mori (森 恕) -- Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Takumakai
(student of Takuma Hisa)

合気をかけ、合気技を行なうためには、関節技で要求されるこのような力・技術・要領等は必要要件ではない。むしろ、邪魔になると言ってもよい。

In order to apply Aiki and execute Aiki techniques, the strength, technical points and other essentials required for joint techniques are not necessary requirements. You could even say that they are an impediment.

つまり、合気技と関節技は、技の原理が全く異なっており、極端に言えば、両者の術理は対極にあると言ってもよい。従って、関節技の稽古をどれ程重ねても、それだけでは絶対 に合気には到達できないのである。

In other words, the fundamental principles behind Aiki techniques and joint techniques are completely different, stated extremely one could even say that their technical principles are diametrically opposed. Accordingly, however much one trains in joint techniques, that alone will absolutely not enable one to accomplish Aiki techniques.
Takeshi Maeda (前田 武) -- Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Renshinkan
(student of Toshimi Matsuda)

「集中力」ではなく、触れることで相手を無抵抗にさせることだと思います。接点から気を出して、丹田から足へと伝えることによって相手を動けない状態にしてしまう。あとは 投げようが倒そうが、こちらの意のままです。師匠の松田敏美には「力を入れるな」と教わりました。師の手を握った時の感触を覚えておいて、あとは自分でいろいろ思考錯誤す ることで身に付くはずです。私の場合には30年ぐらい掛かりましたね。

It is not "Shuchu-ryoku" ("focused power"), I believe that it is to make the opponent non-resistant upon touch. Extend Ki through the contact point, transmit from the Tanden to the feet and put the opponent in a condition in which they are unable to move. After that, they may be thrown or taken down at will. I was taught by my teacher Toshimi Matsuda "Don't put in power!". One must remember the feel of taking the teacher's hand and then absorb it through their own process of trial and error. In my case it took about thirty years.
Hitoshi Nakano (中野 仁) -- Yoshinkan Hombu Dojo
(student of Gozo Shioda)

合気を得るには、理屈によるものと体によるものがあります。どちらも合気という答えを求めているのですが、戦後の新しい流派の多くは、過程を飛ばして理屈により答えを求め ているようです。私達はそれとは違い、基本動作や指導稽古等の過程、体を使った稽古を通じて合気を習得する方法をとっています。また、合気は必ずしも神秘的なものではなく 、敵との間合いや殺気を感じる等のことを含めて合気であると思います。

In order to grasp Aiki there are those that approach through theory and those that approach through the body. Both of these seek the answer to Aiki, but most of the new schools from the post-war skip past the process and seek the answer through theory. We are different from that, we chose the method of learning Aiki though the process of such things as Kihon-dosa and guided practice, training that uses the body.
Dan and I discussed this just last night regarding weapons. All the same principles are applied. Weapon work just makes it far more obvious.
Power from hara/dantian is used to create stability as mentioned here (http://www.bodyworkseminars.org/). It is what Dan calls dynamic stability that has such a profound effect on someone trying to push or pull you and they end up off balanced or having to adjust to retain balance. Since any point of contact has this soft power behind it and requires what feel like- as no effort at all- it tends to neutralize their force it then becomes easy to use aiki (In yo ho) to control in whatever way one wants. Throwing away or throwing down is not aiki, it is what happens after aiki, and is merely a choice that defines various arts approaches.
Zoe

Demetrio Cereijo
07-30-2014, 08:49 AM
What if Aiki isn't a body skill?

I'm all ears.

jonreading
07-30-2014, 09:28 AM
In one of my previous posts, I related a preservative feeling that drives my ukemi. First, I think that you have a cross roads at which you decide whether aiki is about you doing something to someone, or someone doing something because of you. If you understand that you are in physical jeopardy when you partner throws you into the ground, then you have an obligation to escape that jeopardy. I think there is a mis-conception that when you see someone thrown "away" it is because nage projected them in that direction. It's not. It's tiddlywinks. The force is up/down (ten chi). My partner "shoots" out to avoid the pressure. Can nage provide some guidance to the trajectory? Sure. The problem is that most of us cannot generate the vertical power to "shoot" our partner away, so instead we apply a directional force to "project" our partner. The crazy $hi! is that the tiddlywinks works against heaven, not just earth.

I think another cross roads we meet is when we have to cast a marble about what is aiki. I think most of us spend a considerable amount of time without fidelity to a concept of aiki. Right or wrong, I think we deliberately leave aiki as a nebulous concept. Part of my terminology contends that aiki is definite and demonstrable. I believe this because I have felt it and worked with a number of people who can show it, teach it, and transmit it. Part of my terminology contends that aiki is a [perishable] body skill. You condition you body through physical activity and that activity improves the quality and quantity with which to you utilize aiki. I believe this because we have been given a set of exercises and a curriculum that was originally intended to condition this skill.

I began differentiating aiki from aikido because I believe there is no majority definition of aiki in aikido. Its ridiculous to say, but the simple fact is there is no consensus in aikido about what is aiki. The understanding on which I have decided is not even a leading minority definition. This observation is also consistent with the demonstrations and instruction in which I have participated. There is a small minority of instructors who has started showing what they do in a different fashion. I believe these instructors are trying to separate aiki to give it a refined illustration. It didn't seem fair to assimilate the work these individuals did back into the collective aggregate. So, I separated them.

Aiki is not magic. It's not a power bar positioned below your avatar. It's not invisible force that shoots from your hands... I am not sure defining aiki by negation ( "I was never told that," "That's not what I do," "I can't do that," etc.) is going to ever produce a definition of aiki. If you don't believe in aiki, why entertain the discussion? If you believe in aiki, why not set forth the aspects about which you feel strongly and build consensus component by component? Hell, I can buy a judo book that defines aiki - I am not saying it's right, but at least they're casting a marble.

Aiki age (and its corresponding partner aiki sage) are Japanese terms that I have heard through a number of sources. We have a permutation of the exercise in aikido, we call kokyu tanden ho and it contains both the rising and falling components of the exercise. I think at some point we have a burden to personally invest in education beyond what we get in the dojo and that possibly transcends arts. Just cause we don't know it doesn't mean it ain't true.

Chris Li
07-30-2014, 10:25 AM
Hi,

What Hisa Sensei taught at the Asahi Dojo was a bit different. Amatsu Sensei said he was never taught anything called aiki age from Hisa Sensei.

Gavin

Well, I understand that - I also understand that every line of Daito-ryu that I've seen or trained in uses the term, including people who pre-date Takuma Hisa, and other students of Takuma Hisa like Hakaru Mori. So what exactly is the point that you're trying to make?

Best,

Chris

kewms
07-30-2014, 10:33 AM
What if Aiki isn't a body skill?

Then what is it?

And, more relevant to the original point, why can't it be improved with study?

Katherine

Mert Gambito
07-30-2014, 02:58 PM
Hi Mert,

I just dont think aiki is something you get more and more of. So when you say high level aiki I get the impression that you think it is something you keep building on?
If we were born with high-level ability, we wouldn't need to train, or have a reference like the Soden, would we? Heck, we can't even walk when we're born, let alone generate kuzushi on contact.

If you're saying that aiki in full bloom is inherent to the human condition -- as if we are born like light bulbs switched on but covered in opaque mud -- on what is that theory based? (Personally, I think we're all born with varying baselines of ability that must be developed into something martially effective).

And as a corollary, what is it then that allows, over time, a practitioner to more efficiently and fully scrape away the occlusion, and turn "muddy power" into "transparent power" (to borrow terminology from Sagawa-den Daito-ryu) and fully, efficiently express aiki in a manner that is martially effective?

Timothy WK
07-30-2014, 07:33 PM
Regarding the Takumakai using or not using the term "aiki-age":

I was under the impression that there was a time when the Takumakai didn't use names for techniques. I thought that Okabayashi---after spending some time training with Tokimune---brought technique names into the Takumakai along with the Hiden Mokuroku organizational scheme. (I believe the Soden isn't organized in any particular fashion.)

So while I really don't know, I wouldn't be surprised if the name "Aiki-age" came through Tokimune and not Hisa.

Chris Li
07-30-2014, 07:42 PM
So while I really don't know, I wouldn't be surprised if the name "Aiki-age" came through Tokimune and not Hisa.

That may well be true. Sokaku wasn't much on names, and he only taught Takuma Hisa for a short time - 2-3 years, much of which he wasn't even there in Osaka. In any case, I'm not sure why it appears to have been a sticking point.

Best,

Chris

Gavin Slater
07-31-2014, 02:16 AM
That may well be true. Sokaku wasn't much on names, and he only taught Takuma Hisa for a short time - 2-3 years, much of which he wasn't even there in Osaka. In any case, I'm not sure why it appears to have been a sticking point.

Best,

Chris

Hi,

Im not making any point. I just said in Takeda Ryu there is no such thing as aiki age/sage. Amatsu Sensei never taught me anything called aiki age. Im just saying my experience in training Daito Ryu thats all.

In Daito Ryu aiki is defined you dont need to cast any marbles, its no secret. You just have to go to a dojo and ask them. I cant speak for Mori Sensei but I dont think what you posted opposes anything I said?

Gavin

Chris Li
07-31-2014, 03:08 AM
Hi,

Im not making any point. I just said in Takeda Ryu there is no such thing as aiki age/sage. Amatsu Sensei never taught me anything called aiki age. Im just saying my experience in training Daito Ryu thats all.

In Daito Ryu aiki is defined you dont need to cast any marbles, its no secret. You just have to go to a dojo and ask them. I cant speak for Mori Sensei but I dont think what you posted opposes anything I said?

Gavin

I've been in a number of Daito-ryu dojo, including a number of years with direct students of Takuma Hisa - but I would probably class my experience of people's willingness (and their ability to do so, even if willing) to share in a somewhat less positive light.

In any case, every Daito-ryu line that I've run across uses the term "aiki-age", including direct students of Takuma HIsa like Mori, so it is liketly to have come from some central source and the most likely source for that is Takeda himself, that's all. FWIW, some of the Sagawa students claim that Yukiyoshi Sagawa really invented the name, but I'm a little sceptical of that one as well.

Best,

Chris

Carsten Möllering
07-31-2014, 11:19 AM
Dear Oisin and Gavin,

as someone who does not practice Daitō ryū some of your comments raised some questions.
And as someone who understands Daitō ryū and Aikidō to be members of the same family I would appreciate very much, if you could help me, to get things clearer.

1. When you say that there are no throws in Daitō ryū, how does this relate to what Takeda Tokimune sensei states in an Interview (http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews/daito_ryu.html): " ... in Daito-ryu do you learn to throw your enemy in five directions ... In gohonage, you throw your enemy in five directions--front, back, right and left and center--that is, ... There are also five-directional throws associated with ikkajo, nikajo, and sankajo. ..." (I did abridge this quote! Everybody please read the whole text of Takeda sensei, to get the context.)

2. When you state that there are no names for techniques in Daitō ryū, how does this relate to the book of Kondo Katsuyuki sensei (http://store.aikidojournal.com/katsuyuki-kondo-daito-ryu-aikijujutsu-hiden-mokuroku-ikkajo/), giving a clear name for every depicted technique?

I don't mean to start an argument about that!
It's just: I own that book. I read that Interview. And I would like to comprehend, i.e. to bring together what seems to be a contradiction.

Thanks for your post, Carsten. On this point, Would you say what you are doing is essentially the same?As far as aiki is concerned: Yes, I think so. (To give an answer as short as possible ... ;) )

Gavin Slater
07-31-2014, 06:36 PM
Hi Carsten,

I cant do any of the aikibudo waza as I have never been taught any. I only studied with Amatsu Sensei who only taught Hisa Sensei's Daito Ryu. But I will try and answer your question in the context of what I learned. I mainly got taught Takeda Ryu so sometimes I just refer to that as what I got taught i.e Daito Ryu. I should probably be more specific. In Ueshiba Ryu there are throw away waza like the type you are probably thinking of. So I have done some throw away waza, and it does feel good to throw the enemy away but I was always taught if you just throw the enemy away they will just come back. In Takeda Ryu there are no throws.

The Daito Ryu I learnt did not have any names for anything. I come from a Judo background and it was quite annoying at first as I wanted a name for everything. But after a while you just get over it and just train. Although sometimes Amatsu Sensei would make a joke and name a waza after someone, like I had a technique I really liked and he named it 'Gavins favourite waza', it wasn't a compliment by the way. Or a difficult waza became 'the waza that someone cant do'.

Gavin

Carsten Möllering
08-01-2014, 03:38 AM
Hi Gavin, thank you very much!

If I get you right, what I understood as contradictions is simply due to Daitō ryū having different lines of tradition/branche/ryū-ha that have names/no names for techniques and have throws/no throws in their curriculum.
Do I have this right?

Gavin Slater
08-01-2014, 05:47 PM
Hi Carsten,

Yes there are two types of Daito Ryu.

Gav

Carsten Möllering
08-04-2014, 03:08 AM
In these settings IHTBF is of less use than what one might commonly assume. Your "feeling" is not normally attuned ...I think, feeling (jap. kimochi, chin. qi) is what it's all about when it comes to aikidō.

I.e. aikidō practice - in my understanding - teaches or should teach "to get attuned to ...", to learn to feel, to develop a reliable feeling. And - most interesting - to learn to direct this feeling (kimochi/qi). Within one's own body - and via a contact/atari into the body of the attacker.

Erick Mead
08-05-2014, 10:19 AM
I think, feeling (jap. kimochi, chin. qi) is what it's all about when it comes to aikidō.

I.e. aikidō practice - in my understanding - teaches or should teach "to get attuned to ...", to learn to feel, to develop a reliable feeling. And - most interesting - to learn to direct this feeling (kimochi/qi). Within one's own body - and via a contact/atari into the body of the attacker.
And practices such as striking our own limbs and body in warmups and tekubifuri-undo -- are exercises in precisely this development of feeling -- but it is not explained -- nor done mindfully, in most usage (IME).

Striking the body creates mechanical resonance-- and natural internal damping -- both of which have a distinct feeling . Tekubi furi-undo DRIVES a resonance throughout the body -- and can do the same with any OTHER body (fa jin, FWIW). Damping can be actively managed by inverse means. Kokyu tanden ho is the process of learning to feel remote structure through structure in contact -- akin to hearing with your bones -- and ears work because bones actually vibrate, FWIW.

Erick Mead
08-05-2014, 11:27 AM
You haven't stated what the "mechanisms" you mentioned above are, but that is of no matter. Performance that is mind/body driven is neither wholly voluntary or reflexive. Nor is it a simple amalgamation of both. Unfortunately I don't have the terms to state clearly what I'm trying to say, but I know what I feel and that is: performance that arises from a coordinated mind and body is a synergy of both voluntary response and reflexive action whereby the gap separating the two is considerably narrowed. ... and it is those very concrete physical terms that I have sought and -- to some greater or lesser degree -- captured. We all need something like this in order to dispense with the ad hoc collection of mixed metaphor, confusedly cross-cultural jargon that hangs on all these arts like a mass of barnacles on ship. Needs scraping and a clean copper bottom.

The five basic mechanisms are deeply interrelated and given in no particular order of usage or relative importance -- but the key words will get you to resources worth your while:

1. Dependence of stability of human structure (and its disruption) on reflexive vertical oscillations (inverted pendulum stability) : This is THE fundamental ten-chi -- in-yo dynamic in human stability -- and which innately ties to the torsional/rotational extension/retraction aspects of how our bodies are constructed to operate (irimi-tenkan principle).

Which relates to:

2. The continuum or spectrum of gross rotations/oscillations (low frequency) and vibrations (high frequency). In the Doka this is the image counterpoised between on the one hand, the demon snake (most aikido waza/kata) (aspects of various jin manipulations in CMA) and on the other hand, the spirit (buzz) of bees -- tekubifuri, furitama (the endpoint of fa jin in CMA).

Which relates to:

3. Buckling mechanics, both simple (column) and compound (curved surface) -- the latter of which is the inside-out manner of "spherical rotations" -- also described as asagao (morning glory blooming), irirmi-tenkan principle and in the five bows and upper-lower crosses-arches.

Which relates to:

4. Interchangeablity of moment (static potential for rotation) and angular momentum (dynamic rotation); Loosely -- this is the principle that adopting the static form of a dynamic does structural work, and vice versa. (Dantien/hara -- but harder to conceptualize that way. More cross-pollinatedly -- upper/lower cross, upper/lower arches, five bows, the several jin mechansism of CMA etc. etc.. More prosaically aikido -- tegatana -- or hiji riki "elbow-power," or the "big toe" principle of aiki, and the much misconceived, misapplied, (and wrongly castigated) "spherical rotations" of Nidai Doshu.

Which relates to:

5. Torsionally AND vibrationally triggered, monosynaptic (very fast) reflexive arcs (exploiting Gogli tendon organs and muscle spindles) -- e.g. -- nikkyo=flexor and sankyo = extensor - These are exquisitely sensitive to resonance signals because of its intense structurally destructive potential.

Which relates to No. 1 above.

Erick Mead
08-05-2014, 11:59 AM
The body skills negate the "ability" (maybe that's a better word for what we're trying to quantify and qualify here) of the attacker while amplifying one's own, and the attacker never feels the normal ramp-up of "power" to meet his/her attack that results in a physical and emotional escalation of the clash.
... That ability is still demonstrable today, but then as now is extremely rare. For example, many folks have seen the photos of Dan Harden demonstrating Aiki-Age on Scott Burke recently in Hawaii (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/gallery/picture/1062-dan_harden_hawaii_july_2014_176/category/26-dan_harden_in_hawaii_july_2014_workshops). Why head-butt the guy, or bite is ear -- tactics that could very likely create the escalation you rightly state to avoid -- when you can simply use high-level aiki, if it's in your repertoire (also, imagine that same ability to move a man of Scott's size channeled into a throw or atemi if things don't end there)?

FWIW, this is a panel-by-panel illustration of a guy having his spinal reflexes popped for him. The guy trying to hold him down is actually potentiating his own reflexes -- by his own effort (equivalent to the Jendrassik maneuver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jendrassik_maneuver)) -- which has the effect of amplifiying the magnitude of the reflexive response. The involuntary reflex action in his own body he ramped up to the point that the seated gentleman merely has to trigger the reflex arc and it pops -- like a compressed spring releasing faster (~25-50 ms) than his voluntary nervous system can even notice what has already happened (~100-200ms). Order of magnitude difference in latency of perception. This is not to diminish the art involved accomplishing that manipulation -- but it is why what you see is happening.

Carsten Möllering
08-05-2014, 02:20 PM
... and it is those very concrete physical terms that I have sought and -- to some greater or lesser degree -- captured.
...
First I have to admit, that I don't really understand your "five basic mechanisms" because I simply lack the knowledge of physics. Simply not my buiseness, so this language doesn't speak to me ...

... which leads to my first question:
Does this knowledge help you to teach your students? Do they get what you mean and can they transform it into movement?

And - second question - can you? Does this knwoledge help you to delve into yourself, to change your body and soul and to develop new abilities?

But what is most important to me:
The language that is traditionally used does not only cover the physical aspects, but has also a energetic, psychological and spiritual Dimension.
Can you re-connect your physical language to those other dimensions? Do you want or need that after all?

Finally:
The phenomenon oft the language that is traditionally used to transmit knowledge in the context of CMA, Daoism, Buddhism, Shintō, ... aikidō ... has been studied scientifically at great length.
I think what you understand as imprecise, vague or ambiguous actually was intended. This language is a vehicle of transmission of knwoledge in itself. It is my actual experience that most important parts of the transmission get lost when it ist "demythologized" by converting it's meaning into only physical aspects.

Erick Mead
08-05-2014, 04:28 PM
Without repeating the profane reaction just made -- it neither demonstrates aiki nor aikido ... I am sincerely interested in the source of that kind of visceral emotional, provocation or reaction -- simply from a set of carefully worked out observations based on facts, experience and and some straightforward physiology -- though not often seen applied in this context.

I've worked on developing these concepts -- in the open here for the most part -- in discussions groups and put them into context and development in blog posts -- It looks like somebody reads my blog posts (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-the-levitating-chains-4932/), since it's in the top ten by views, if not comments. Not that this was my aim in writing them by any stretch. In fact, I am somewhat surprised at that, since I'll be the first to admit this technical an approach is not everyone's cup of tea -- whihc others have also said -- though in more endearing terms.

But knowledge isn't in preference to or in place of anything in any particular art or form of training. It is simply a way of categorizing and describing demonstrable actions and their causes in neutral terms that are not culturally bound. This may inform lots of ways of training-- but it is not dependent on nor require any particular method of training to make use of the knowledge -- so it ought not be a rice-bowl issue to anyone.

So truly, I wonder where it comes from and why. Is it the just loss of the mystique ? What ?

Erick Mead
08-05-2014, 05:43 PM
First I have to admit, that I don't really understand your "five basic mechanisms" because I simply lack the knowledge of physics. Simply not my buiseness, so this language doesn't speak to me ... The beauty is -- IF you want to -- you can look it up in a text book or ready resource and turn to finding ways to apply it that pertain to your experience and situation -- and there is not just one way. Far less intermediating cultural references are required -- unless mechanical is a culture -- and some basic knowledge of mechanical and physiological concepts is necessary -- but not maths by any means.

... which leads to my first question:
Does this knowledge help you to teach your students? Do they get what you mean and can they transform it into movement? Yes. It gives defined concrete images and concepts that can be applied more directly. Asagao - the blooming morning glory image, for instance is a concept reference that comes from the Daito line ( as I understand it) -- but encodes what we might in aikido call the irimi-tenkan principle, which is a far more thoroughgoing concept than just the gross tai sabaki of shifting forward and turning.

In mechanical terms, one way of illustrating this is the principle of the screw -- it can extend and retract position only if it also turns while doing so -- and along a characteristic and consistent spiral line. This is the mechanism of delivering kokyu tanden ho. This characteristic line is also related to the curves of freely swinging pendulums (lissajous curves) and to the curves of simultaneous tension and compression stress in the body under torsion. It is all of a piece and involves torsional stress or action on two axes at once which Ueshiba called Juuji (+) . He once referred to the art as jujido, in fact.

The bowing-unbowing of the wu gong (five bows) is an example of using principle of spherical structure and movement by framing the body around a spherical form as though plastered to a large ball. This takes on a structure with two different axes of curvature (the upper cross -- most obviously -- and which is also true (in a different way) of the helical screw of irimi tenkan. When the ball is before me, the body is concave in front vertically and horizontally, the tail is tucked, the lordosis becomes more "c" shaped, the upper back stretched, the chest closed, and the arms curving inward and down. The legs flex in compensation (in-yo) and the knees are over the toes.

If I imagine the ball to my rear instead of to my front, my body must reverse its curves on two axes. Spherical buckling -- which involves these rotations of plane curvature. It is as though I stretch back to the form of the large sphere behind me, instead of to my front. The arms twist out and opening, the lordosis of the spine becomes developed, the upper back contracted across the shoulders, the chest opening and the legs extending, with the weight toward the toes and the heels nearly coming up.

In spherical buckling -- when a thin concave metal plate reverses its curvature -- it often with great force because it concentrates stresses until it finally pops through. If these forms of action are done inversely from left to right it is ten-chi --one side rising, twisting and opening -- the other side falling, twisting and closing. It develops a characteristic turning about the support because the eccentricity of stresses in two different axes at once -- causes a form of stress that occurs on the third axis -- if you feel it, and you let it, and you can feed into and can drive it -- but not directly - it produces action in a direction you are not directly acting, spooky, in other words, in some contexts (like a gyro) and more obvious in others, such when twisting in two axes advances the screw forward in the third.

These are some examples of things that I can describe in these ways and easily result in immediate improvement on the mat.

And - second question - can you? Does this knowledge help you to delve into yourself, to change your body and soul and to develop new abilities? Yes. It does and continues to do so.

But what is most important to me:
The language that is traditionally used does not only cover the physical aspects, but has also a energetic, psychological and spiritual Dimension.
Can you re-connect your physical language to those other dimensions? Do you want or need that after all? This is not an either/or issue. The astronauts did not fail to understand where they were and how -- precisely how -- they were where they were, nor the difficulties in getting there -- but they did not experience any less the visceral and spiritual wonder of being in and witnessing space and the threshold of the universe off our ball of clay. Knowledge adds to experience -- it never subtracts.

Finally:
The phenomenon oft the language that is traditionally used to transmit knowledge in the context of CMA, Daoism, Buddhism, Shintō, ... aikidō ... has been studied scientifically at great length.
I think what you understand as imprecise, vague or ambiguous actually was intended. This language is a vehicle of transmission of knwoledge in itself. It is my actual experience that most important parts of the transmission get lost when it ist "demythologized" by converting it's meaning into only physical aspects.I do not deny this. Much of what I glean from the Doka, though, is the physical images themselves -- which are not mediated knowledge, but as concrete and direct. Once the referent object or situation is manageably translated -- the physical image of the thing described provides the information, e.g -- "demon snake" and "spirit of bees." Mythology (Kojiki) also has these qualities, though at a greater remove, culturally from us, and requiring far more cultural curency to decode completely. This was a lesson that even few who heard it first hand received -- for historical reasons of the war and loss of the cultural heritage in Japan that rapid modernization had begun long before. The cultural background of those mythological images is also informative -- but the Doka poetry has the benefit of being visceral and concrete in ways that ordinary speech often is not.

kewms
08-05-2014, 06:20 PM
Finally:
The phenomenon oft the language that is traditionally used to transmit knowledge in the context of CMA, Daoism, Buddhism, Shintō, ... aikidō ... has been studied scientifically at great length.
I think what you understand as imprecise, vague or ambiguous actually was intended. This language is a vehicle of transmission of knwoledge in itself. It is my actual experience that most important parts of the transmission get lost when it ist "demythologized" by converting it's meaning into only physical aspects.

Sometimes. Don't assume that all obscurity is intended to be convey knowledge, though. There are koans, yes. But there are also a lot of cases, especially in the martial arts, where obscure language was chosen precisely to hide the true meaning from outsiders. Even if the school's scrolls were stolen or copied, they would be meaningless to someone who had not received direct transmission from a master.

Katherine

Carsten Möllering
08-06-2014, 03:51 AM
The beauty is -- IF you want to -- you can look it up in a text book or ready resource and turn to finding ways to apply it that pertain to your experience and situation ...But in which way does it help me to connect texts of daoist internal alchemy, buddhist lojong practice, teachings of Ueshiba osensei and in-yo-ho of certain koryū?
In which way does it help me to understand that a certain quality of movement is connected to a certain emotion, to a certain way of thinking - Or better: Not thinking?
In which way does it help me to realize that a change within me i.e. a different way of moving means a change of the world around me?

It is all of a piece and involves torsional stress or action on two axes at once which Ueshiba called Juuji (+) . He once referred to the art as jujido, in fact.I clearly don't think that the cross of yin/yang and kan/li refers to physical axes in the first place. ;)

Yes. It does and continues to do so.Well besides all intellectual debates I think this is most important. If it works for you and if it is way you can go this is great!

The astronauts ... but they did not experience any less the visceral and spiritual wonder of being in and witnessing space and the threshold of the universe off our ball of clay. Knowledge adds to experience -- it never subtracts.I think this example doesn't take my point. Because I am stating that the language itself is meant to transmit not only physical but also energetical and spirituale knowledge. These dimensions are not added but are inherent. And not only that: They are constituent.
Working the body simply is spiritual practice in itself.
aikidō wa misogi desu.
Simply that.

Your example would take my point the moment that a trip to the orbit would be able to relliable show you god (or tao or buddha ...). And to show you your inner self in a way you can methodicaly work with it. ;)

But there are also a lot of cases, especially in the martial arts, where obscure language was chosen precisely to hide the true meaning from outsiders.Yes, I am very aware of that. ;)

After I was gradually introduced to ura teachings, that actually helped me a lot to understand the usage of language in transimitting certain arts such as a budō or daoist practices.
I think it to be important to understand that - although this "language was chosen ... to hide the true meaning" - the language, the metaphors, the terms are not random!

While they don't mean anything to an uninitiated reader/listener or may even lead an outsider away from the true meaning, at the same time they provide precise information for the initiated student.
While the language is obscure to an outsider, the initiate can use that same language, terms, metaphors to get clear information, to learn, to comprehend the art.

You can read this "obscure language" very well - if you are shown how to read it by your teacher(s).

That is why I am sceptic, when people try to translate this language to seemingly better understandable terms or facts. It is my understanding that in this way the "hidden meaning" simply get's lost.

Keith Larman
08-06-2014, 09:52 AM
The phenomenon oft the language that is traditionally used to transmit knowledge in the context of CMA, Daoism, Buddhism, Shintō, ... aikidō ... has been studied scientifically at great length.
I think what you understand as imprecise, vague or ambiguous actually was intended. This language is a vehicle of transmission of knwoledge in itself. It is my actual experience that most important parts of the transmission get lost when it ist "demythologized" by converting it's meaning into only physical aspects.

That may be true to *some extent*, however keep in mind that there are many levels of meaning involved in this discussion. Not to get too philosophical, but there is a difference between helping someone understand something esoteric about the nature of reality through metaphor or things like Zen Koan and then trying to explain how something is done physically and what "mechanisms" are in play to allow that to happen. We can talk about "ki" in almost mystical terms or we can talk about ki as in physical energy (or actually quite a few other things as well). The latter is vastly more amenable to a physics based discussion than the former, for instance.

So I think we need to tread carefully on things like this. Saying that there are many lessons learned through the vague and ambiguous is IMHO no doubt true. However, that doesn't mean the entire domain under discussion is vague or imprecise for that reason. Some is without question vague and imprecise because we lack a vocabulary which adequately explicates what's happening. It's like any field of science where as our understanding improves often the vocabulary is forced to grow, become more detailed, and develop more nuanced meaning for each term. So to those who argue that we have a vocabulary already, well, I understand that. But the vocabulary we have (which itself grew under the sort of conditions I'm talking about -- those who were actually doing this stuff trying to convey what it was they felt and perceived they were doing) is IMHO still rudimentary at best in terms of a more rigorous scientific standard. Of course some may not want to go that direction at all instead preferring the traditional approach, but some of us want (or maybe need?) to understand it in more modern, rigorous terms. I'm not happy with terms like "extending ki". Yeah, been doing this stuff for a while, but I don't have an answer to the question when a teenager asked me "Okay, yeah, but what does that *really* mean?" I want that answer. And I think we know vastly more about physiology, psychology, physics, etc. and as a result we are better situated now to hopefully expand the vocabulary some and maybe offer a better understanding. Which itself will hopefully allow the next generation to flesh it out more, bring more to life, strip some of the junk away and expose even more of what's *really* going on.

Now me, personally, I do not agree with Erick's analyses. Not at all. I've been on the mat with a lot of very good people, felt it in person, and being of a scientific background myself very little of what Erick writes, with all due respect, rings true for my direct experiences of it and subsequent training of it, whatever that "it" is. *That said*, I fully respect his attempt. I fully respect his approach. I think it he got out on the mat with some of the so-called "big dogs" and tried some of what he's saying he might change his course a bit. But... I have zero problem with him trying to formulate his theories and approach. And it's not to say that much of what he's talking about isn't good and interesting either. I just don't think it cuts to the heart of what's really going on, at least in my experience, my training, and my background as well. But more power to him.

So... I think the major problem facing this issue has long been a lack of an accurate theory and supporting, rigorous language that allows us to discuss it in a clearer, more precise way. Sure, there are many ideas present within many religions and martial arts that are more esoteric and "philosophical" that might require mental leaps of the practitioner. But we must resist the temptation to say "oh, it just is what it is because it's supposed to be vague". There are things that are vague for good reasons. Others, it seems to me, are vague simply because we don't really understand what's going on. But there are quite a few people working very hard to better understand that, even if I personally think some are on a better course than others. And that is good. The more the merrier.

End of deep thought of the day...

Mert Gambito
08-06-2014, 10:01 AM
FWIW, this is a panel-by-panel illustration of a guy having his spinal reflexes popped for him. The guy trying to hold him down is actually potentiating his own reflexes -- by his own effort (equivalent to the Jendrassik maneuver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jendrassik_maneuver)) -- which has the effect of amplifiying the magnitude of the reflexive response. The involuntary reflex action in his own body he ramped up to the point that the seated gentleman merely has to trigger the reflex arc and it pops -- like a compressed spring releasing faster (~25-50 ms) than his voluntary nervous system can even notice what has already happened (~100-200ms). Order of magnitude difference in latency of perception. This is not to diminish the art involved accomplishing that manipulation -- but it is why what you see is happening.
Erick,

I've been on the receiving end of this a few times -- both being sent upward (as shown) and backward (relative to the uke). More importantly, I've been on the receiving end of techniques from Dan that utilize similar "power", and collectively these experiences tell me what's going on doesn't don't fit the theory. For example, the Aiki Age can be done slowly. Granted, the uke won't pop up in the air in the same manner as documented, but he/she will nonetheless be compelled upward, e.g. to a standing position, within the context of doing this as a waza.

Mary Eastland
08-06-2014, 11:37 AM
So is the bottom line go study with Dan or else you spend your life in the dark? I think perhaps it the journey is varied and every ones experience is valid and important to them.

kewms
08-06-2014, 12:37 PM
So is the bottom line go study with Dan or else you spend your life in the dark? I think perhaps it the journey is varied and every ones experience is valid and important to them.

What are your goals?

If I were, say, a recreational fencer, I could probably have a lot of fun messing around on my own, watching video, maybe taking a few lessons now and then. But that isn't going to get me to the Olympics. And an Olympic fencer probably wouldn't be that interested in my opinions about the fine points of the art of fencing.

Katherine

Keith Larman
08-06-2014, 12:48 PM
So is the bottom line go study with Dan or else you spend your life in the dark? I think perhaps it the journey is varied and every ones experience is valid and important to them.

No. That's a false dichotomy. And it is an unfair characterization. If you are doing what you think is correct then it doesn't matter if someone else does not agree with you. I can accept perfectly well that what you are doing is sincere, correct, and valid for you. I am capable of disagreeing with someone while doing something different. You seem to take disagreement as condemnation.

It's a complex world, complex topic, lots of people doing different things, and lots of people doing it for very different reasons. Now let's all hug, sing kumbaya, and go on our merry ways.

Some topics are difficult to discuss. Sometimes people think you're criticizing what they do because you do something different from them. Which makes discussing why one thinks a certain path is better for them sometimes fraught with danger. Thar be dragons...

Exit, stage right...

Mary Eastland
08-06-2014, 01:21 PM
This subject is not difficult to discuss. It is being discussed. And some people's stuff is dismissed.

27 years of training is a serious commitment. My mind and eyes are open.

Demonstrating aiki and demonstrating aikido are not the same thing. Some aikido I have come across is completely devoid of aiki.

The aikido I train in has aiki. It is a serious part of our training.

Disagreement is not condemnation. Being dismissive to another's idea is.

What is shown in that series of clips featuring Dan was described in an interesting way by Erick Mead. I can't always understand what what Erick writes yet I understood his description of that.

He may be right or wrong. We did what the clips showed. It wasn't that hard.

Mary Eastland
08-06-2014, 01:24 PM
What are your goals?

If I were, say, a recreational fencer, I could probably have a lot of fun messing around on my own, watching video, maybe taking a few lessons now and then. But that isn't going to get me to the Olympics. And an Olympic fencer probably wouldn't be that interested in my opinions about the fine points of the art of fencing.

Katherine

Not sure what your reference to recreational fencer has to do with anything. I am not a recreational aikidoist so I am not sure how it apples.

kewms
08-06-2014, 01:54 PM
Not sure what your reference to recreational fencer has to do with anything. I am not a recreational aikidoist so I am not sure how it apples.

People train (in anything) for a wide variety of different reasons, and with a wide variety of different goals. There are many different paths up the mountain, but advice relevant to one path may not be relevant to another.

So, if you don't value the particular skills that Dan teaches, that's fine. That's your path, and more power to you.

However, the people who *do* value those skills are on a different path, and one that they perceive as superior. (Of course. That's why they're on it.) They are likely to consider your experiences irrelevant to their training. As you are likely to consider theirs irrelevant to yours.

Which is where the question of goals comes in. The more you care what the rest of the world thinks of "your" aikido, the more important encounters with that world are going to be. Saying "we do that" isn't going to be as effective in shaping outside opinions as having someone put their hands on you and say, "Yeah, that's what Mary is doing, too."

A lot of people with a lot of experience have found what Dan is doing transformative. If you don't, that's fine. But if you haven't actually put your hands on him, don't expect people to value your opinions in the matter.

Katherine

Mary Eastland
08-06-2014, 02:13 PM
Thank you for the advice, Katherine.
I have been around this discussion for a long time. I have been to a workshop by your teacher and I didn't seen anything different or as effective as what we do.

kewms
08-06-2014, 02:25 PM
Thank you for the advice, Katherine.
I have been around this discussion for a long time. I have been to a workshop by your teacher and I didn't seen anything different or as effective as what we do.

*shrug* He hasn't shared his perception of your aikido, and I haven't personally trained with you, so I don't feel qualified to have an opinion one way or the other.

Katherine

Erick Mead
08-06-2014, 02:47 PM
I've been on the receiving end of this a few times -- both being sent upward (as shown) and backward (relative to the uke). More importantly, I've been on the receiving end of techniques from Dan that utilize similar "power", and collectively these experiences tell me what's going on doesn't don't fit the theory. For example, the Aiki Age can be done slowly. Granted, the uke won't pop up in the air in the same manner as documented, but he/she will nonetheless be compelled upward, e.g. to a standing position, within the context of doing this as a waza. Reflexes are not all sudden and catastrophic in effect. Stroking the sole of a foot with a blunt object normally causes an involuntary flex downward of the toes, for instance (if reversed, it is the Babinski sign -- and may mean CNS damage).

I am aware that aiki-age it is also done slowly and do so with greater or lesser success. The reflexes we are talking have two main types and operate in two different ways. Stretch reflexes and tendon reflexes, and which can trigger and inhibit muscle actions (http://musom.marshall.edu/anatomy/grosshom/spinalreflexes.html) -- first, by prompting contraction on the agonist or synergist muscles, and second, by inhibiting the antagonist muscles on the opposite side of the limb (reciprocal inhibition).

The knee-tap reflex test is the kind of sharp stretch reflex resulting in sharp reaction -- not unlike what the panel sequence showed. But lower magnitude forces triggering the muscles spindles create more subtle reflex effects. The Jendrassick effect shows there are known correlated stretch reflex connections between the upper and lower limbs -- nikkyo and sankyo exploit this in precisely inverse ways -- mainly because the twist in each is reverse from the other -- and so differ in which muscle spindles are on the synergist versus the antagonist side of the spiral line of stretch (shear tension) -- that triggers the reflexive action. The reflexes also have some left-right connections as well, which are typically inverse (contralateral) , i.e. - flex on one side vs. extend on the other side (an aspect of ten-chi, FWIW).

When aiki-age is done slowly the predominating effect is less from the triggering of, say, the extensor muscles to actively lift you, but an inhibition of the antagonist flexors, resulting in an imbalance of forces on the limb such that the unbalanced normal tone of the extensors now lifts you -- mainly because it is unopposed by the balancing force on the opposite side of the limb. That's why it seems hard to notice why it is happening or control it, because the reflex action is not doing anything to lift you -- but merely stopping part of you from doing what it normally does without you noticing to begin with.

Erick Mead
08-06-2014, 03:12 PM
We can talk about "ki" in almost mystical terms or we can talk about ki as in physical energy (or actually quite a few other things as well). The latter is vastly more amenable to a physics based discussion than the former, for instance.

Now me, personally, I do not agree with Erick's analyses. Not at all. I've been on the mat with a lot of very good people, felt it in person, and being of a scientific background myself very little of what Erick writes, with all due respect, rings true for my direct experiences of it and subsequent training of it, whatever that "it" is. *That said*, I fully respect his attempt. I fully respect his approach. I think it he got out on the mat with some of the so-called "big dogs" and tried some of what he's saying he might change his course a bit. But... I have zero problem with him trying to formulate his theories and approach. And it's not to say that much of what he's talking about isn't good and interesting either. I just don't think it cuts to the heart of what's really going on, at least in my experience, my training, and my background as well. But more power to him. Science proceeds by close observation and repeatedly taking the chance to make surmises that may well be usefully and carefully -- wrong. And then doing it again, and again ... etc. etc.
And when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true.

;)

Erick Mead
08-06-2014, 04:26 PM
Some topics are difficult to discuss. Sometimes people think you're criticizing what they do because you do something different from them. Which makes discussing why one thinks a certain path is better for them sometimes fraught with danger. Thar be dragons... Eric Voegelin wrote an essay titled "On Debate and Existence" in the 60's about such problems of debate. I revisited it -- and it has this:

Rational argument could not prevail because the partner to the discussion did not accept as binding for himself the matrix of reality in which all specific questions concerning our existence as human beings are ultimately rooted; he has overlaid the reality of existence with another mode … called the Second Reality. The argument could not achieve results, it had to falter and peter out, as it became increasingly clear that not argument was pitched against argument, but that behind the appearance of a rational debate there lurked the difference of two modes of existence, of existence in truth and existence in untruth.

Of the present topic -- there are differences in terms of acceptable evidence to various people -- or our approach to the truth, as you term it -- but I do not really think that, in the main, anyone -- with but a few possible exceptions, falls in the latter category. But I suspect a few have harbored the suspicion that some on the other end might.

That sense of suspicion seems to drive the danger you note -- and some of the occasionally heated comment (noted above) is testament to it. But this is not, I think, the more fundamental divide that concerned Voegelin -- I don't think that really is in play here. Everyone on this topic seems genuinely interested in the truth of WHAT works, as well as WHY it works -- and how best to make it work better.

transit
08-06-2014, 10:42 PM
Reflexes are not all sudden and catastrophic in effect. Stroking the sole of a foot with a blunt object normally causes an involuntary flex downward of the toes, for instance (if reversed, it is the Babinski sign -- and may mean CNS damage).

I am aware that aiki-age it is also done slowly and do so with greater or lesser success. The reflexes we are talking have two main types and operate in two different ways. Stretch reflexes and tendon reflexes, and which can trigger and inhibit muscle actions (http://musom.marshall.edu/anatomy/grosshom/spinalreflexes.html) -- first, by prompting contraction on the agonist or synergist muscles, and second, by inhibiting the antagonist muscles on the opposite side of the limb (reciprocal inhibition).

The knee-tap reflex test is the kind of sharp stretch reflex resulting in sharp reaction -- not unlike what the panel sequence showed. But lower magnitude forces triggering the muscles spindles create more subtle reflex effects. The Jendrassick effect shows there are known correlated stretch reflex connections between the upper and lower limbs -- nikkyo and sankyo exploit this in precisely inverse ways -- mainly because the twist in each is reverse from the other -- and so differ in which muscle spindles are on the synergist versus the antagonist side of the spiral line of stretch (shear tension) -- that triggers the reflexive action. The reflexes also have some left-right connections as well, which are typically inverse (contralateral) , i.e. - flex on one side vs. extend on the other side (an aspect of ten-chi, FWIW).

When aiki-age is done slowly the predominating effect is less from the triggering of, say, the extensor muscles to actively lift you, but an inhibition of the antagonist flexors, resulting in an imbalance of forces on the limb such that the unbalanced normal tone of the extensors now lifts you -- mainly because it is unopposed by the balancing force on the opposite side of the limb. That's why it seems hard to notice why it is happening or control it, because the reflex action is not doing anything to lift you -- but merely stopping part of you from doing what it normally does without you noticing to begin with.

Hello Erick Mead,

I have to ask, are you really disputing Mert Gambito's eye witness account and first hand experience?!?

IMO, in this instance that Mert Gambito is more credible than your second hand experience.

Sincerely,
Tristan Abara

Dazaifoo
08-06-2014, 11:48 PM
FWIW, this is a panel-by-panel illustration of a guy having his spinal reflexes popped for him. The guy trying to hold him down is actually potentiating his own reflexes -- by his own effort (equivalent to the Jendrassik maneuver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jendrassik_maneuver)) -- which has the effect of amplifiying the magnitude of the reflexive response. The involuntary reflex action in his own body he ramped up to the point that the seated gentleman merely has to trigger the reflex arc and it pops -- like a compressed spring releasing faster (~25-50 ms) than his voluntary nervous system can even notice what has already happened (~100-200ms). Order of magnitude difference in latency of perception. This is not to diminish the art involved accomplishing that manipulation -- but it is why what you see is happening.

Heh.
Hee hee.
Aheh. Ha,
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAWOOOHAHAHA!!!
Ah ha heh ha*cough cough* ow hah....
Oh man, sorry. Ahem!. <popping the spinal reflexes> AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Yeah no that ain't it.

Chris Li
08-07-2014, 05:59 AM
Thank you for the advice, Katherine.
I have been around this discussion for a long time. I have been to a workshop by your teacher and I didn't seen anything different or as effective as what we do.

Just to be clear, you're talking about George here, yes?

Best,

Chris

Carsten Möllering
08-07-2014, 06:44 AM
... there is a difference between helping someone understand something esoteric about the nature of reality through metaphor or things like Zen Koan and then trying to explain how something is done physically and what "mechanisms" are in play to allow that to happen. We can talk about "ki" in almost mystical terms or we can talk about ki as in physical energy (or actually quite a few other things as well).My point actually is to not split that up. I am convinced that the texts I have in mind, be it daoist texts of internal alchemy or certain texts of Ueshiba, connect information about the nature of reality, about how to live (or become immortal) and about how something is done physically in the very same sentence.
And I think this is characteristic for the used language. And is needed because of the underlying philosophy/spirituality: You can understand the spiritual nature or reality via physical practice. Body work is the vehical of enlightenment. Not only breathing, but using your limbs and core in certain way leads to philosophical knowledge and spiritual awakening ...

However, that doesn't mean the entire domain under discussion is vague or imprecise for that reason. Some is without question vague and imprecise because we lack a vocabulary which adequately explicates what's happening. I think most of the language is very precise. Problem is, it does not match our habits. We are not used to deal with certain terms and ways of thinking. But that is true for every foreign language we encounter.

... I don't have an answer to the question when a teenager asked me "Okay, yeah, but what does that *really* mean?" I want that answer. I think a worldview that only acknowledges something as *real* when it can be expressed in westen, scientific language or when it does fit into a westen, scientific paradigm does not meet the standards of the texts I have in mind. Nor does it - in my eyes - help to pass on a budō or an art like nei gong.
I think that given language is not deficient in the way it lacks the scientific knowledge of our age but it is adapted to it's content.

So when I put qi in my fingertips that does really mean that I put qi in my fingertips. I can do it, it happens, uke can feel it and is affected by it.
When a student asked me some time ago about what qi is , I gave him some qi gong exercises ...

And I think we know vastly more about physiology, psychology, physics, etc. and as a result we are better situated now to hopefully expand the vocabulary some and maybe offer a better understanding.It is my actual experience that those very old texts know a lot more then "we" do today.

kewms
08-07-2014, 12:43 PM
I'm an engineer and a writer. Very precise, mechanistic language absolutely has a place.

As I've said before, though, I'm not sure how pedagogically useful it is. Even assuming Erick's description is accurate in all respects (of which I'm not convinced), I'm not sure that telling someone to inhibit contraction of antagonist muscles is more helpful than telling them to run energy along their own tegatana. In application, any martial art is necessarily intuitive, and so one goal of training is to develop reliable physical intuition.

Not just martial arts, either. Engineering professors miss the days when most of their students spent their teenage years working on cars. Athletic coaches prefer to coach people who spent childhood playing outside. Mechanistic descriptions are important in building a rigorous, testable model -- very useful if you're making a bridge -- but intuition is how you know which models might be worth building.

Katherine

Keith Larman
08-07-2014, 12:59 PM
I'm an engineer and a writer. Very precise, mechanistic language absolutely has a place.

As I've said before, though, I'm not sure how pedagogically useful it is. Even assuming Erick's description is accurate in all respects (of which I'm not convinced), I'm not sure that telling someone to inhibit contraction of antagonist muscles is more helpful than telling them to run energy along their own tegatana. In application, any martial art is necessarily intuitive, and so one goal of training is to develop reliable physical intuition.

Not just martial arts, either. Engineering professors miss the days when most of their students spent their teenage years working on cars. Athletic coaches prefer to coach people who spent childhood playing outside. Mechanistic descriptions are important in building a rigorous, testable model -- very useful if you're making a bridge -- but intuition is how you know which models might be worth building.

Katherine

Oh, you won't get an argument from me on that aspect. For the longest time I wore a t-shirt that said "More mat, less chat."

However... Many of those esoteric concepts from long ago are based on entire world views and theories that themselves are suspect in many ways. And as such they allow many to go off in all sorts of directions. To use a rather mundane example, I was sitting on a test board listening to an enthusiastic student ramble on about the meaning of saying "Onegaishimasu". He talked about how it meant "let's train together, let's share out bodies, let's learn together" and so forth. I swear I was wondering how many bowls he'd smoked before I finally interrupted and pointed out that it's *literal* definition was rather, well, boring. "If you will" or something along those lines. Meaning all that extra stuff he was talking about was great and all. And certainly in conext of the use in the dojo there is some degree of that meaning being attached since *in context* that's how it is being used as a part of reigi. That said this guy truly thought it quite literally meant all these things in a strict sense. Later on after a class he went on to explain to me how it was so cool that the kanji for Ai in Aikido also means love. I kept trying to tell him that no, in fact it doesn't, but he was adamant. He was unaware of how there are many different kanji pronounced "ai" with varied meanings and that the kanji for the ai of Aikido is different from the kanji for "ai" in love.

My point here is that with all areas of study have vocabularies that evolve over time as understanding grows. So any physicist trying to explain something using the concept of the so-called "ether wind" is either working 150 years ago *or* is horribly out of date. And the ether wind *was* the best explanation at the time. It turned out some details were missing and Einstein managed to explain how to do away with it and provided a vastly more useful framework to explain what was going on.

With respect to some of the aspects of what we're doing, guys like Dan, Toby, Mike, Ark, Kuroda, et al would not be having the success in teaching and transmission if they weren't further explicating what their "old world" words mean in a more fleshed out manner. And then high ranking folk like Gleason, Ledyard, and quite a few folk I know quite well that fly in under the radar wouldn't be sitting in those seminars and using that to help them learn to better transmit what it is they may have already been doing, albeit at a less fleshed out level. And to watch people make huge leaps in ability once a different approach is tried is a testament to the increased clarity.

No, I don't think Erick here is anywhere near what's going on. But I appreciate the effort and I appreciate that he's trying to come up with a systematic approach. And I also think that the appearance of rigor and the appearance of "scientific" can also be deceiving, giving a false sense of authority. But when someone can come over, shift my hips and then explain in more concrete terms what's happening inside my body *and* it lines up with the sensations I feel at the time, it makes it easier for me to do it again and hopefully pass it along to the next person.

Keith Larman
08-07-2014, 01:07 PM
And... If we presume that the theories presented by some of these people are correct as to the body development aspect underlying all of this, then using terms like "relax" or "feel the ki in your fingertips", or "blend with them" are incredibly insufficient for those who haven't had the decades of training to develop the body necessary to actually have something to pin those words on. But if we can more directly train the body, build the structures, enliven the passageways across longer reaches, then the sooner the student can attach those less prosaic ideas to the feeling they have. But it all then begs the question whether the more esoteric descriptions were really necessary to begin with. Or if we're just infusing it with all sorts of wonder philosophical meaning to satisfy our own desires for it to be more deep, more mysterious, more magical and further increasing how special it is to have it.

I honestly don't have time to waste. I've spent enough decades already trying to figure things out. And when I run in to stuff that allows me to look back over a ton of things said to me and suddenly see them in different and clearer ways, well, I ask myself why I'm not making it clearer to those I"m teaching now. It's not you guys here I'm worried about. There's enough "we've got it already" here and surely no shortage of deep conversation. I'm worried about helping the teenage girl I outweigh by 100 pounds who can toss me on my butt even better. And hoping she'll in turn find it easier to communicate the same thing to those she hopefully ends up teaching herself.

RonRagusa
08-07-2014, 01:37 PM
And... If we presume that the theories presented by some of these people are correct as to the body development aspect underlying all of this, then using terms like "relax" or "feel the ki in your fingertips", or "blend with them" are incredibly insufficient for those who haven't had the decades of training to develop the body necessary to actually have something to pin those words on.

Well... I have those decades of training and when I hear those phrases I can easily relate them to what I'm feeling. That said, I quite agree with you that for someone without a solid background of training, descriptive phrases be they esoteric, mechanistic or mystically based can only provide a platform to build on.

But if we can more directly train the body, build the structures, enliven the passageways across longer reaches, then the sooner the student can attach those less prosaic ideas to the feeling they have. But it all then begs the question whether the more esoteric descriptions were really necessary to begin with.

I don't understand why people think the Aikido training syllabus (at least as I learned it) doesn't contain the required implements to "train the body, build the structures, enliven the passageways across longer reaches...". My training, from the very beginning, emphasized those very qualities, although using different descriptive terminology. The descriptions, I think, are necessary simply because beginning students seem to crave verbal explanation to back up and give meaning to what they're doing.

Or if we're just infusing it with all sorts of wonder philosophical meaning to satisfy our own desires for it to be more deep, more mysterious, more magical and further increasing how special it is to have it.

On a singularly personal level, it is deep, mysterious, magical and special. But that's not how it was presented to me and not a message I try to convey when I teach. I leave it up to each student to discover for him/her self the depth, mystery and magic of Aikido... or not.

Ron

kewms
08-07-2014, 03:17 PM
To use a rather mundane example, I was sitting on a test board listening to an enthusiastic student ramble on about the meaning of saying "Onegaishimasu". He talked about how it meant "let's train together, let's share out bodies, let's learn together" and so forth. I swear I was wondering how many bowls he'd smoked before I finally interrupted and pointed out that it's *literal* definition was rather, well, boring. "If you will" or something along those lines. Meaning all that extra stuff he was talking about was great and all. And certainly in conext of the use in the dojo there is some degree of that meaning being attached since *in context* that's how it is being used as a part of reigi. That said this guy truly thought it quite literally meant all these things in a strict sense. Later on after a class he went on to explain to me how it was so cool that the kanji for Ai in Aikido also means love. I kept trying to tell him that no, in fact it doesn't, but he was adamant. He was unaware of how there are many different kanji pronounced "ai" with varied meanings and that the kanji for the ai of Aikido is different from the kanji for "ai" in love.

Ugh. Trying to argue about subtleties of meaning in a language that you don't speak is a really great way to publicly embarrass yourself...

I don't think being a Japanophile is necessary if you're going to study Japanese martial arts, but hearing a waitress saying "saba maki onegaishimasu" to the sushi chef does provide a useful counterpoint to excessive romanticism.


With respect to some of the aspects of what we're doing, guys like Dan, Toby, Mike, Ark, Kuroda, et al would not be having the success in teaching and transmission if they weren't further explicating what their "old world" words mean in a more fleshed out manner. And then high ranking folk like Gleason, Ledyard, and quite a few folk I know quite well that fly in under the radar wouldn't be sitting in those seminars and using that to help them learn to better transmit what it is they may have already been doing, albeit at a less fleshed out level. And to watch people make huge leaps in ability once a different approach is tried is a testament to the increased clarity.

No, I don't think Erick here is anywhere near what's going on. But I appreciate the effort and I appreciate that he's trying to come up with a systematic approach. And I also think that the appearance of rigor and the appearance of "scientific" can also be deceiving, giving a false sense of authority. But when someone can come over, shift my hips and then explain in more concrete terms what's happening inside my body *and* it lines up with the sensations I feel at the time, it makes it easier for me to do it again and hopefully pass it along to the next person.

Definitely agree on both points. Finding the balance between mechanistic explanation, intuitive teaching metaphors, and simply getting out of the way so students can train is much harder than I think most non-teachers realize.

Katherine

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 03:30 PM
I'm an engineer and a writer. Very precise, mechanistic language absolutely has a place.

As I've said before, though, I'm not sure how pedagogically useful it is. Even assuming Erick's description is accurate in all respects (of which I'm not convinced), I'm not sure that telling someone to inhibit contraction of antagonist muscles is more helpful than telling them to run energy along their own tegatana. In application, any martial art is necessarily intuitive, and so one goal of training is to develop reliable physical intuition.

Not just martial arts, either. Engineering professors miss the days when most of their students spent their teenage years working on cars. Athletic coaches prefer to coach people who spent childhood playing outside. Mechanistic descriptions are important in building a rigorous, testable model -- very useful if you're making a bridge -- but intuition is how you know which models might be worth building.
Katherine Intuition needs to develop concrete -- and consistent-- patterns of observation AND experience, in order to function reliably. Abstraction is the nature of intuition -- perceiving patterns in specific things that have more general -- though not always obvious -- application.

Mechanistic descriptions were themselves a product of precisely those kind of intuitions -- laboriously resolved and reduced into a coherent and self-consistent system -- over generations. Study of their patterns of principles, shapes and relationships helps develop such intuition. Cranking the wrench is of some value in understanding the critical stress profile of static torsional shear on a bolt -- but less so when abstracting that intuition to the directly and deeply related aspects of a dynamic vortex.

The same is certainly true to a point of many schools of martial arts in their own terms -- but in an international, intercultural art -- personal or cultural idiosyncracy has very little appeal. The source material's descriptions were at best poorly transmitted (or received), or at worst, achieved little if any internal coherence or consistency originally -- beyond "just-so" demonstrations and descriptions. That is not to say that transmission is necessarily impeded by proceeding in this way -- but the sense generally is that Ueshiba's legacy was impeded, and in terms of such a coherent system, is woefully doubtful and uncertainly grounded.

The ad hoc efforts to describe such "just-so" teaching results in a knowledge framed in "just-so" stories and accounts. The result is a herky-jerk progress -- at best, and always doubtful of its foundation. But in that case, unless and until you have both experienced it AND perceived it to be "just so" -- it will remain incapable of the kind of almost unimaginable and consistently repeatable growth in knowledge and power we see displayed in the history of the mechanical and technological arts -- and in all nations, languages and cultures.

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 03:40 PM
Heh.
Hee hee.
Aheh. Ha,
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAWOOOHAHAHA!!!
Ah ha heh ha*cough cough* ow hah....
Oh man, sorry. Ahem!. <popping the spinal reflexes> AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Yeah no that ain't it. Happy to entertain. But you know this --- HOW exactly ...?

Bodies work like bodies work -- and these bodies -- they work that way. All of them, if they are healthy. The fact that HE works the body -- admitted very ably, very cleverly and quite subtly -- does not change the fact that he is working it THAT WAY -- in that application.

Transmissions work the way they work. Whether you can drive like the NASCAR or F-1 pro or not -- one can understand how the power meets the road -- and -- with one's own capabilities -- drive a freaking car... and maybe even drift the darned thing through the corners a bit ...

kewms
08-07-2014, 03:52 PM
I think medicine might be a more useful comparison than the mechanical arts. Mechanical systems are much more predictable and clearly defined than organic systems.

And it's true that in some cases medicine has made astounding progress. Germ theory alone has probably saved millions or even billions of lives. Infectious disease is very amenable to mechanistic analysis: make culture, see little wiggly things in sick people that aren't present in healthy people, get rid of the little wiggly things and people don't get sick. Yay, science!

But then consider, say, back pain. Huge numbers of people have it. And study after study has found this or that contributing abnormality. But, for the most part, none of the treatments work. Spinal fusion surgery works for some people in some cases. But so do chiropractic treatment and acupuncture, both of which "real" scientists tend to dismiss out of hand. Lots of other treatments help sometimes. But sometimes they don't. The "fix this structure, pain goes away" model fails, sometimes spectacularly.

My position is that martial arts are more like back pain than they are like infectious disease. There is much to be learned about the biomechanical structures involved, but understanding them won't necessarily make you a better martial artist.

Katherine

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 03:59 PM
Hello Erick Mead,

I have to ask, are you really disputing Mert Gambito's eye witness account and first hand experience?!?

IMO, in this instance that Mert Gambito is more credible than your second hand experience.
If you read what I wrote, you would see I did not question a single thing that Mr. Gambino said he experienced. I accepted his experience without question. I am not going to shrink from my experience any more than I would expect Mr. Gambino to shrink from his. I simply want to see it, examine it, understand and use it.

What I questioned was his assumption that a difference of perception is necessarily a difference of cause and his resulting conclusion based on that -- since I know it to be a false assumption -- in this case at least.

He contended that his different experience of subtle and gradual effects was not explained by the mechanism I outlined for the more sudden and sharp application that happened to be illustrated in the images. I explained that in fact the same biomechanical factors were in play and the suddenness was not an inherent factor in the action.

He assumed that they had to be differently caused -- just because they SEEMED differently felt. Seeming is not seeing. You have to mistrust your assumptions to see. The eyes always see first what the mind expects them to see.

"My eyes and my arm shouted out the truth, but you were not seeing. ... The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of it." To quote Syrio Forel. :D

Just because something is explainable does not make it less profound, less interesting or less worthy of study -- not unless one simply wishes to dwell in the mystery of unexamined experience. In which case, go with God.

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 04:14 PM
I think medicine might be a more useful comparison than the mechanical arts. Mechanical systems are much more predictable and clearly defined than organic systems.

But then consider, say, back pain. Huge numbers of people have it. And study after study has found this or that contributing abnormality. But, for the most part, none of the treatments work.
My position is that martial arts are more like back pain than they are like infectious disease. There is much to be learned about the biomechanical structures involved, but understanding them won't necessarily make you a better martial artist.

But knowing it won't make you a worse one either ... Tuite application for instance -- saying they are "just muscle spindles and certain nerve plexuses" (which they are) does not make one necessarily better at triggering them in practice -- but knowing that will help nail down anatomically where to locate them -- and how better to manipulate them -- and making training to exploit them far more likely to progress. Sure the old Chinese medicine meridians and acupuncture maps are not irrelevant -- but they have no objectively systemic explanation to offer -- not even in their own terms.

You are not wrong -- medicine is not an inapt comparison for development, and these are early days in any sense of that kind of coherent development. And for what it is worth, foramenal nerve root blocks pretty much work consistently for back pain, not without downsides-- but they almost invariably do work.

transit
08-07-2014, 07:20 PM
If you read what I wrote, you would see I did not question a single thing that Mr. Gambino said he experienced. I accepted his experience without question. I am not going to shrink from my experience any more than I would expect Mr. Gambino to shrink from his. I simply want to see it, examine it, understand and use it.

What I questioned was his assumption that a difference of perception is necessarily a difference of cause and his resulting conclusion based on that -- since I know it to be a false assumption -- in this case at least.

He contended that his different experience of subtle and gradual effects was not explained by the mechanism I outlined for the more sudden and sharp application that happened to be illustrated in the images. I explained that in fact the same biomechanical factors were in play and the suddenness was not an inherent factor in the action.

He assumed that they had to be differently caused -- just because they SEEMED differently felt. Seeming is not seeing. You have to mistrust your assumptions to see. The eyes always see first what the mind expects them to see.

"My eyes and my arm shouted out the truth, but you were not seeing. ... The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of it." To quote Syrio Forel. :D

Just because something is explainable does not make it less profound, less interesting or less worthy of study -- not unless one simply wishes to dwell in the mystery of unexamined experience. In which case, go with God.

Hello Erick,
You contend that your theory explains the observed phenomena, Mr. Gambito's own theory also explains the phenomena while having the benefit of first hand observation and experience.

transit
08-07-2014, 07:23 PM
Your observations are at a remove and because of that are less credible IMO.
Sincerely,
Tristan Abara

phitruong
08-07-2014, 08:30 PM
Happy to entertain. But you know this --- HOW exactly ...?



just venturing a guess, because he's the guy in the picture that went flying? his body and his experience afterall. essentially, you are telling him what he experienced.

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 08:45 PM
Hello Erick,
You contend that your theory explains the observed phenomena, Mr. Gambito's own theory also explains the phenomena while having the benefit of first hand observation and experience.Tristan, Mert didn't state any theory, much less attempt to "explain the phenomena." Reading what he wrote, he appears to find it intriguing, perplexing, hard to grasp conceptually, and acknowledges it, to his credit. I acknowledge it; but I didn't start looking at this just yesterday, either.

I don't have a mere "theory". I have experience of my own practice developed training in aikido since 1984 -- reduced to known biomechanical action and sound mechanics in the last ten years or so of work on these fundamental issues specifically over the last ten years. That is a deal more than just a "theory" at this point.

I don't have particular training methodology -- this would be true -- but I am not advocating one either -- lots of different training is good training. I have found good training in my personal experience -- whether the late Parker Sensei 's Yoshinkan, ASU, Iwama, or Federation Aikido. Good stuffs in taichi too, FWIW -- and take the IP/IS crowd at their word that the guys helping them are worth their time. I'm not a partisan.

What has been lacking-- everywhere I have been -- whether in Yokosuka, East Coast, West Coast or Gulf Coast, is a coherent, objective system of understanding that rises past the "just-so" type of training, good as it may be with many teachers.

I mean to remedy that.

Oyesumi nasai.

Chris Li
08-07-2014, 08:49 PM
He assumed that they had to be differently caused -- just because they SEEMED differently felt. Seeming is not seeing. You have to mistrust your assumptions to see. The eyes always see first what the mind expects them to see.


He also has the advantage of having felt it being done to him many times, and even...doing it himself (although to a much smaller extent than in the photos).

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
08-07-2014, 08:59 PM
I don't have a mere "theory". I have experience of my own practice developed training in aikido since 1984 -- reduced to known biomechanical action and sound mechanics in the last ten years or so of work on these fundamental issues specifically over the last ten years. That is a deal more than just a "theory" at this point.

Everybody's got explanations, theories or whatever, for how things work. If you've got a theory then show how you can make it work - Dan does, in open rooms, and quite convincingly. Otherwise, it's just...hopeful theorizing.

At some points the theories have to be tested and the results shown.

Best,

Chris

Robert Cowham
08-07-2014, 10:05 PM
But then consider, say, back pain. Huge numbers of people have it. And study after study has found this or that contributing abnormality. But, for the most part, none of the treatments work. Spinal fusion surgery works for some people in some cases. But so do chiropractic treatment and acupuncture, both of which "real" scientists tend to dismiss out of hand. Lots of other treatments help sometimes. But sometimes they don't. The "fix this structure, pain goes away" model fails, sometimes spectacularly.

My position is that martial arts are more like back pain than they are like infectious disease. There is much to be learned about the biomechanical structures involved, but understanding them won't necessarily make you a better martial artist.

And if you read Dr John Sarno, you find a theory (and practice which has worked for many):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_E._Sarno

Sarno states that he has successfully treated over ten thousand patients at the Rusk Institute by educating them on his beliefs of a psychological and emotional basis to their pain and symptoms.

Though there are some alternative views: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/mind-over-back-pain.php

My wife is a Radiographer, specialising in MRI. As that field has developed over the years, is was quickly realised that there are people in severe pain with spine scans showing nothing out of the ordinary, and others who they almost helped off the table due to apparent issues with discs and other structures and yet had no pain - the body is complex...

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 10:07 PM
just venturing a guess, because he's the guy in the picture that went flying? his body and his experience afterall. essentially, you are telling him what he experienced. No, Phi, I am not denying him his experience. I am telling him there is actual real physiology in what happened to him,and that he was neurologically incapable of perceiving correctly at the time that it happened or in the order that it happened. Conscious perception and voluntary reaction are way late to the party -- which -- if you think about it -- makes sense in terms of a superior martial exploit.

Monosynaptic reflexes -- one synapse jump involved (muscle spindle and tendon stretch reflexes, ) =~ 25-50 ms latency

Polysynaptic reflexes (contralateral and correlated upper/lower reflexes, nociceptor flexor reflex,Jendrassick maneuver, nikyo, sankyo) ~75-100 ms latency.

Conscious perception latency ~75-100 ms

Voluntary action latency ~75-100 ms

In a polysynaptic exploit (e.g. -- nikyo ) the action latency is just at the cusp of latent perception as it happens, but latent voluntary reaction is still far behind. But when a monosynaptic (spinal reflex) commences an action -- it has already been happening for half or two-thirds as long as it takes for you to notice the stumulus that caused it, another 25-50ms to notice the reflex action that is continuing to happen. Whatever voluntary reaction you decide to do takes ~ 100 ms from the stimulus that prompted it -- but then you also realize the reflex is happening and that voluntary action is countermanded or modified in transit.

By that time -- Mr. Burke was already airborne. 50+100+100= 250 ms + travel time to 20 inches off the deck -- give or take. That's a slow punch.

So -- even for a trained person -- who is legitimately faster, and on the lower end of the timing scale -- the order of event, action and perception is:

Stimulus = 0
Polysynaptic reflex = 75ms
Awareness of stimulus = 75ms
Voluntary motor action = 150ms
Awareness of reflex = 150ms

In other words, you become aware of the polysynaptic reflex occurring just as your voluntary action occurs (now seen as completely wrong since it could not take the reflex action into account). Psychologically, our mind plays tricks with these latencies. We see what we expect to see -- we feel what we have come to expect to feel. But perception (anyone's perception) is -- neurologically and quite literally -- out of order with respect to the objective sequence of events and the right corrective action. since the awareness of the reflex and awareness of stimulus happen at the same time, it seems simultaneous -- even though it isn't.

This is confusing and difficult, but not as much as the monosynaptic situation

A monosynaptic latency though is on the order of 20-45 ms -- call it 30 ms =0.03s, twice as fast as, or even better, as the visual or pain flinch (polsynaptic) reflexes at ~75 ms).

Stimulus = 0
Monosynaptic reflex = 30ms
Awareness of stimulus = 75 ms
Awareness of reflex = 105ms
Voluntary motor action = 150ms

You find yourself aware of your body doing things contrary to and before what you thought told it to do, but because of this you begin to try to negate or modify your voluntary action -- before it has even happened. You can't do anything about it, but the now counterproductive initial voluntary action still takes place even though you are now aware it is no longer tenable because of the reflexive action. You flounder. You pop. You seem powerless. Your body no longer seemingly obeys.

That is what makes this so powerful.

So I can say -- with some precision -- that I know a BIT more about what did happen, than Mr. Burke was physically capable of perceiving when it happened to him. Unless he was aware of these facts, and meant to raise some other objection than merely mocking laughter.

Erick Mead
08-07-2014, 10:34 PM
Everybody's got explanations, theories or whatever, for how things work. ... most of which are wrong. Even if useful. Something useful but wrong is a physical metaphor -- fine. This is not that.

If you've got a theory then show how you can make it work - Dan does, in open rooms, and quite convincingly. Otherwise, it's just...hopeful theorizing. Aiki-age. Yes. So? Objective truth does not do "work". It just is. Knowing what is and what isn't may make what does work better, and may help make what doesn't work more workable. ... The superlative effects Dan demonstrates, I'll freely grant as the result of long, careful and correct training. An idea does no "work." People have to work to put any idea into practice. No one is saying that idle theory without practice is worthwhile -- least of all me. Perhaps this is your chief objection - in which case we are in agreement after all.

But this is not idle. Objective truth remains regardless of whatever pragmatic descriptions you find helpful to describe or imagine your training. One does not have to be a pilot to understand and even use aerodynamics (though I qualify on both counts), or perform at Dan's level to grasp the objective truth of what is going on in aikiage or to do it to some degree (and I manage, credibly I'm told, on both counts). I make no claims to stunning demonstrations -- I do make claims of some study and knowledge.

I credit you for looking for those objective truths yourself in many of the sources -- as you have provided and shown here and elsewhere -- and to excellent effect. But why then, such a shutdown on considering whether there may be merit in the objective truth of the body ? There are only so many of Dan. Everybody has a body -- they work more or less the same. Why not learn from the body ? That's how the sources actually developed it -- after all.

Mert Gambito
08-08-2014, 01:10 AM
If you read what I wrote, you would see I did not question a single thing that Mr. Gambino said he experienced. I accepted his experience without question. I am not going to shrink from my experience any more than I would expect Mr. Gambino to shrink from his. I simply want to see it, examine it, understand and use it.

What I questioned was his assumption that a difference of perception is necessarily a difference of cause and his resulting conclusion based on that -- since I know it to be a false assumption -- in this case at least.

He contended that his different experience of subtle and gradual effects was not explained by the mechanism I outlined for the more sudden and sharp application that happened to be illustrated in the images. I explained that in fact the same biomechanical factors were in play and the suddenness was not an inherent factor in the action.

He assumed that they had to be differently caused -- just because they SEEMED differently felt. Seeming is not seeing. You have to mistrust your assumptions to see. The eyes always see first what the mind expects them to see.

"My eyes and my arm shouted out the truth, but you were not seeing. ... The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of it." To quote Syrio Forel. :D

Just because something is explainable does not make it less profound, less interesting or less worthy of study -- not unless one simply wishes to dwell in the mystery of unexamined experience. In which case, go with God.
Erick,

There's no conclusive proof that you're right or wrong about me (for one) being wrong, or vice versa. My last salvo in this thread will be to clarify that there is not only what happens to the uke, but also the raw (internally driven) physical power exhibited by the nage/tori, which can be used to superior effect as discussed during paired waza, but can also, among other things, drive a shinken through 3-inch diameter trees, and deflect a bokken in sword kata with enough force to put a 3/4-inch divot into solid concrete. To each his/her own in terms of doing what's necessary to understand and utilize IP. It's certainly worth the collective effort.

Dazaifoo
08-08-2014, 06:05 AM
No, Phi, I am not denying him his experience. I am telling him there is actual real physiology in what happened to him,and that he was neurologically incapable of perceiving correctly at the time that it happened or in the order that it happened. Conscious perception and voluntary reaction are way late to the party -- which -- if you think about it -- makes sense in terms of a superior martial exploit.

Monosynaptic reflexes -- one synapse jump involved (muscle spindle and tendon stretch reflexes, ) =~ 25-50 ms latency

Polysynaptic reflexes (contralateral and correlated upper/lower reflexes, nociceptor flexor reflex,Jendrassick maneuver, nikyo, sankyo) ~75-100 ms latency.

Conscious perception latency ~75-100 ms

Voluntary action latency ~75-100 ms

In a polysynaptic exploit (e.g. -- nikyo ) the action latency is just at the cusp of latent perception as it happens, but latent voluntary reaction is still far behind. But when a monosynaptic (spinal reflex) commences an action -- it has already been happening for half or two-thirds as long as it takes for you to notice the stumulus that caused it, another 25-50ms to notice the reflex action that is continuing to happen. Whatever voluntary reaction you decide to do takes ~ 100 ms from the stimulus that prompted it -- but then you also realize the reflex is happening and that voluntary action is countermanded or modified in transit.

By that time -- Mr. Burke was already airborne. 50+100+100= 250 ms + travel time to 20 inches off the deck -- give or take. That's a slow punch.

So -- even for a trained person -- who is legitimately faster, and on the lower end of the timing scale -- the order of event, action and perception is:

Stimulus = 0
Polysynaptic reflex = 75ms
Awareness of stimulus = 75ms
Voluntary motor action = 150ms
Awareness of reflex = 150ms

In other words, you become aware of the polysynaptic reflex occurring just as your voluntary action occurs (now seen as completely wrong since it could not take the reflex action into account). Psychologically, our mind plays tricks with these latencies. We see what we expect to see -- we feel what we have come to expect to feel. But perception (anyone's perception) is -- neurologically and quite literally -- out of order with respect to the objective sequence of events and the right corrective action. since the awareness of the reflex and awareness of stimulus happen at the same time, it seems simultaneous -- even though it isn't.

This is confusing and difficult, but not as much as the monosynaptic situation

A monosynaptic latency though is on the order of 20-45 ms -- call it 30 ms =0.03s, twice as fast as, or even better, as the visual or pain flinch (polsynaptic) reflexes at ~75 ms).

Stimulus = 0
Monosynaptic reflex = 30ms
Awareness of stimulus = 75 ms
Awareness of reflex = 105ms
Voluntary motor action = 150ms

You find yourself aware of your body doing things contrary to and before what you thought told it to do, but because of this you begin to try to negate or modify your voluntary action -- before it has even happened. You can't do anything about it, but the now counterproductive initial voluntary action still takes place even though you are now aware it is no longer tenable because of the reflexive action. You flounder. You pop. You seem powerless. Your body no longer seemingly obeys.

That is what makes this so powerful.

So I can say -- with some precision -- that I know a BIT more about what did happen, than Mr. Burke was physically capable of perceiving when it happened to him. Unless he was aware of these facts, and meant to raise some other objection than merely mocking laughter.

Wow, you're really smart. I mean I think I'm pretty smart too, but this is like people listening to NPR during dinner and using the good china smart, so my brow is furrowing a little in the effort to keep up.

(You gotta read this next part in a Buggs Bunny voice) Tell you what Brainiac, if we ever cross paths I'd be willing to clamp down on your wrists and let you test your theories on me. Surely with all the thought you've put into this and the confidence of your conclusions you've figured out how to actually do something with it, right?

Maybe you can put on a seminar and teach this, something like From the Blackboard to the Mat. I'd pay good money for that, because brother I wanna know what's going on here. What do you say fellas? *SEMINAR SEMINAR SEMINA!!!R* Ya gotta put your money where your mouth is Doc. *munch munch munch* Because confidentially, until you can, your words just make my eyes swim.

Mary Eastland
08-08-2014, 07:31 AM
Everybody's got explanations, theories or whatever, for how things work. If you've got a theory then show how you can make it work - Dan does, in open rooms, and quite convincingly. Otherwise, it's just...hopeful theorizing.

At some points the theories have to be tested and the results shown.

Best,

Chris

Not just theorizing ...being practiced for years and years..in different ways but valid all the same. We can train how we train and talk about it, here and other places. It is a discussion forum after all. A wonderful place to share ideas.

Mary Eastland
08-08-2014, 07:35 AM
Wow, you're really smart. I mean I think I'm pretty smart too, but this is like people listening to NPR during dinner and using the good china smart, so my brow is furrowing a little in the effort to keep up.

(You gotta read this next part in a Buggs Bunny voice) Tell you what Brainiac, if we ever cross paths I'd be willing to clamp down on your wrists and let you test your theories on me. Surely with all the thought you've put into this and the confidence of your conclusions you've figured out how to actually do something with it, right?

Maybe you can put on a seminar and teach this, something like From the Blackboard to the Mat. I'd pay good money for that, because brother I wanna know what's going on here. What do you say fellas? *SEMINAR SEMINAR SEMINA!!!R* Ya gotta put your money where your mouth is Doc. *munch munch munch* Because confidentially, until you can, your words just make my eyes swim.

Don't we all already now how to do that? Maybe there is another way....
And what will that prove?..that someone is stronger than another...that one way is better than another?

Aikido is finding commonality... not fighting. But here that circle goes again...

Dazaifoo
08-08-2014, 09:40 AM
Don't we all already now how to do that? Maybe there is another way....
And what will that prove?..that someone is stronger than another...that one way is better than another?

Aikido is finding commonality... not fighting. But here that circle goes again...

"Don't we all already now how to do that?" Do what, Aikiage? Don't look at me, I'm just a mug.

"Maybe there is another way...." Hey, I'm all ears so long as you can do it, otherwise it's like listening to one of my IFLS buddies describing figure skating as "just good physics". OK lunchbox,let's see you slap on some skates and pirouette like Nancy Kerrigan. What's that, you can't? Well then keep talking, I'm sure you'll have a breakthrough.

"And what will that prove?" That there's a right way and a wrong way to go about this.

"that someone is stronger than another..." If strength had anything to do with aiki then I know a ton of Guidos that I'd call O'Sensei.

"that one way is better than another?" Well yes, that is the point. Otherwise the alternative is that we take a big tent approach where we all get gold stars and little certificates of awesomeness validating my personhood or some similarly lame declaration. Having been thoroughly outclassed by these IP teachers is a truly humbling experience. I know which way I'd rather turn.

"Aikido is finding commonality... not fighting." Yeah, it can be. Sooooooo.......

"But here that circle goes again... "And look at that, my bus is here! I must be toddling along, spot of tiffin and all that - give my regards to the king, and the queen, and the ace of diamonds.

ken king
08-08-2014, 10:55 AM
Science is nice and all but it's really clear instruction and the work that matters to me. Show me what it feels like and teach me what I need to do to replicate that feeling in others. Dan has a superb method for relaying this to the layman like myself. Theory craft all you want, I'll be pulling silk.

jonreading
08-08-2014, 02:57 PM
First, I agree with Keith. I've known Erick for a while and I think he is crazy. :). Seriously, we have talked and I applaud that he actively seeks to put an answer to what he teaches. To that argument, I think there is such a time when you need to demonstrate and transmit what you do. While its seems somewhat brazen to make the accusation, we essentially pay instructors to teach seminars because we know they can demonstrate (and transmit) what they know. We seek the knowledge we want to emulate and that crafts what our aikido will look like. Yes, there are demonstrable metrics of success in aikido - regardless of your "goals." Yes, some ways are better than others. We pick dojos, partners, seminars and organizations that best suit our goals and expectations in aikido.

Second, this is not a Dan thread. Dan teaches one of several different methodologies of internal power. Tangentially, I believe internal power is critical to aiki, which is critical to aikido. Having been the idiot and the end of Dan's hands on more than one occasion... He is not a parlor trick. Honestly, he actually has enough internal power to lift you off your feet. No reflexes, no cooperation. He can simply move his entire body against any point of contact. I know several people who are doing this training and it is impressive and far less complicated than you would expect. I believe there are several other internal power people available for training, not to mention several Chinese arts that work on the same thing. Be clear whether the problem is internal power, or an individual. Personally, I think most of us see that kind of demonstrations and go, "huh, that doesn't look like what I do at all." Aikido tend to answer this question with: "We do that," "we can be different," or WTF?"

Clearly, the value of education is important. We publish magazines on which schools offer the best education. Why should it matter? Math is a fact, right? Why not go to State university instead of Harvard? Why not let an English teacher teach science? Because the curriculum is only part of the learning experience. Heck, we can't even agree on the curriculum, let alone who teaches it best. Not to mention that some of us have expectations about what we want to learn, regardless of its "correctness." What's worse, we'll spend time and effort worrying about what someone else is doing...

To Mary's point, I would argue Aikido is not necessarily about finding commonality, although I suppose not with George Sensei at least. As it turns out, I am flying George Sensei down South in December (shameless plug) because I feel he is one of the best instructors in the US. He is not teaching what I do, but I am sure as hell trying to do what he teaches.

Erick Mead
08-08-2014, 11:40 PM
To each his/her own in terms of doing what's necessary to understand and utilize IP. It's certainly worth the collective effort.
Hallelujah. Amen.

Erick Mead
08-09-2014, 12:15 AM
Surely with all the thought you've put into this and the confidence of your conclusions you've figured out how to actually do something with it, right?
One or two things... :freaky: You? Plus the crazy... like Jon said. Never underestimate the crazy...

More to the point -- what IS the point ? Not real martial effectiveness -- not in the reality of modern conflict -- not by any stretch. 7.62 and 9's cap the best and most exquisite traditional martial artist I have ever seen -- or ever will see. Marquis of Queensberry died -- a really, really long time ago. We have to be about something else. I don't fight for prizes -- other than my head.

It used to be said that the beginning of wisdom was to call things by their right name. So what is the point of this -- if not to learn more about -- and more concretely, how the body works and to command the body --and the mind -- better -- for its own sake?

If so, then what is your point? To do something you don't have any way to objectively describe and just grunt collective appreciation of whatever it is you have managed to do but can't be bothered to put a right name to? Truly, I think better of you than that. Would that be respectful or disrespectful of the art, since I assume you have the capacity to do better in understanding, and yet just don't want to ?

I can't comprehend trying to train that way. I've seen too many good ways train to turn my nose up at any. I can't imagine doing it, and haven't yet. Nothing I've worked out is dependent on nor favors any training method. It's about the body and how it works -- or fails -- as the case may be. Method is not my game. I truly think aiki is at root anti-method -- and I suspect you would agree.

Carsten Möllering
08-09-2014, 02:58 AM
It used to be said that the beginning of wisdom was to call things by their right name.Yes.
Crazy thing is: They've got names allready. A quite rich vocabulary exists. For centuries. It's all there. And it is as precise as languages can be.

But: It expresses a (seemingliy) different paradigm not only of understanding the world and how it came into being but also of living within the world. So names like "pulling silk", "opening the body", "extending qi", "guiding qi", ... are not understood right away.
I'm investigating into this language for some time now. And it strike me literally every day anew, how clear, precice and workable this language is.

The daoist texts, referring especially to those dealing with internal alchemy, the classics of taiji, the teachings of koryū, the words of Ueshiba osensei:
The are calling things by their right name.
Whoever has ears ought to hear ...

To relabel things by giving them a new name which originate from one's own familiar paradigm will curtail them, reduce them to only the parts of their meaning that fits into one's own paradigm. By doing one will only deal with that, what one allready knows. And will miss the encounter with the new, unfamiliar, strange. Which - in every language - is what bears the potential to change oneself.

So, to explain the world or our body in mechanical terms does not mean, to speak "objective truth". Such a thing doesn't exists. It only means to explain things within a certain paradigm. And thus within the limitations of this certain paradigm.
(Btw. In most contemporary definitions truth is even defined as that what works. That's what differentiates "true" and "not true". Distinctions exist for all I know in how "works" is defined.)

So what is the point of this -- if not to learn more about -- and more concretely, how the body works and to command the body --and the mind -- better -- for its own sake? I understand that you have gone your way to learn and understand. And I understand that it works for you very well. And thats fine with me as long as you don't claim understanding the world - or our body - in mechanical terms would mean to speak "objective truth.

But I am curious why didn't you try to go the way towards the old texts, toward the different paradigm, toward the strange names and so on?
When I first encountered the terms qi and yin an yang and others I started to read about daoism, tried to find out what did "they" mean with this words and concepts. I tried to learn as much as I could about "them" and their worldview. By now, two decades later, I think I understand some of the names a little bit ...
At least I can use those names, or calling those names, to make them work, to make my body (and soul) do certain things. And - what is an interesting corrective in my eyes - I can teach them. I can explain, and show them and make student reproduce them. It works. Calling things by their right names, originally given to them hundrets of years ago.

I practice with some experienced and well educated body workers. When it comes to discussions about connecting those old terms to a scientific worldview, we don'we have interesting debates about the function of fascia in our body and we talk about the dynamic organisation of our body as a tensegrity construction.
Do you have this also in your explanatory models?

transit
08-09-2014, 03:57 AM
To relabel things by giving them a new name which originate from one's own familiar paradigm will curtail them, reduce them to only the parts of their meaning that fits into one's own paradigm. By doing one will only deal with that, what one allready knows. And will miss the encounter with the new, unfamiliar, strange. Which - in every language - is what bears the potential to change oneself.

Brilliant!

Keith Larman
08-09-2014, 09:16 AM
I practice with some experienced and well educated body workers. When it comes to discussions about connecting those old terms to a scientific worldview, we don'we have interesting debates about the function of fascia in our body and we talk about the dynamic organisation of our body as a tensegrity construction.
Do you have this also in your explanatory models?

Actually I'm not sure I understand that question...

The reason you do those things is to deepen understanding by fleshing out meaning, expanding on meaning, and possibly integrating a more nuanced understanding and theory by bringing in newer ideas and understandings that help explicate and expand. Because while the old language may contain a lot of good stuff and even contain a lot more than we give it credit for, it doesn't follow that it is therefore the only explanation, a complete explanation, or the *best* explanation. I don't throw away the old vocabulary at all -- I used a few words last night teaching a class as a matter of fact. With students I've worked with a long time who I've already spent the time trying to get them to understand what they mean. The words become shorthand for a larger, deeper understanding. A placeholder. My goal is not to replace the placeholder, but to further expand and understand the "whatever" those words reference. And that's why you go in to other directions, look at other things, and why you enjoy those conversations with the body work people. And with those doing Pilates. And those doing so-called "functional" fitness work. The ideas. The connections. The expansion of understanding of the concepts the words point at.

Yes, I agree that many of the old explanations often contain a virtual gold mine of information. My profession is in an age-old craft and I'm constantly struck by the depth and breadth of traditional methods and understandings. And while the notion that the ideal temperature for quenching a heated Japanese sword of certain styles when the color "looks like the night-time moon on a clear night in August" does tell you quite a bit, today we have these devices we can point at a orangish glowing hot object, measure the temperature to a remarkably precise temperature, and then are able to quantify what that is, study what the changing crystalline structures in the steel are doing at that temperature, and then possibly have a better way to describe what was happening way back when and understand *why* that color shift was so important. You see, it's an issue of blackbody radiation that marks the phase shift in crystalline structures from pearlite to austentite. At that point when quenched the less insulated edge steel undergoes a diffusionless transformation in to martensitic steel while the more insulated back steel cools more slowly allowing a transformation back to pearlitic steel, or basically softer but resilient steel structures found at room temperatures.

Or I can say it's when the steel resembles the moon in August or February. And that worked well for a long time too. Yup. But if you understand modern metallurgy, knowing the modern metallurgy as well gives one hell of a larger context from within which to understand why it might look like that moon in August in Japan...

Me, I like to understand things more. Is it necessary to know all that stuff? Obviously not, folk made swords quite well for centuries. Me, I think understanding why the phase shift of the hot steel at AC3 causes a coloration "wave" to flow through the blade as the steel's structures phase shift releasing energy causing a sudden change and emission of light of a certain wavelength is a bit more fleshed out than just saying "it looks like the moon". And being able to explain what's happening without having to reference the moon color in Japan in August might be a wee bit more widely useful nowadays. And all the connections that forms can help someone understand why the blade may look like that August moon a lot faster. And why it matters. And what's going on.

I am fine with those who think the old words are sufficient. Good for you. They're not good enough for me, however, not because I think you need to understand more to be able to do it, but because I'm a guy who reads constantly, wonders constantly, and has been doing this long enough where I love to fiddle, explore, and try new things out. And if I can flesh out more than a sometimes extremely subjective feel for what color the moon is in to a more precise understanding of not only where that temperature lies, but also understand why it varies depending on steel type, and what it signifies is actually happening "under the hood" in the structural nature of the steel, and what's going on with the carbon and why that can be a good thing... I'm a happy guy. It also explains why they would warn not to go above that heat for any length of time. You know why, right? Because the moon any brighter wouldn't be an august moon any longer... That's why, right? No, it's because different alloy compositions combined with the time spent at temp, time spent possibly above temp, etc. all cause subtle changes to the steel. And it explains why some schools had larger grain and surface effects, what benefits that gave, what disadvantages it raised. And why then over time they learned to thicken the spine on this style, but could keep it thinner on that other one. And why the edge angle was less acute on the more brittle steel of this style. And on and on and on.

Whatever gets you from point A to B.

Keith Larman
08-09-2014, 09:35 AM
And all that said, I still do this stuff in the photo on a regular basis. Whole body training on a very hot day. 8 feet long, 1.5 inch schedule 40 PVC. Just pole shaking. Lately I've managed to get connected up but I can feel the dantien (ooooh, there's one of those words) moving around out of control. Now that I can feel "it" getting pulled around I've been better able to work on getting it more under control. My daughter was watching me recently and opined that my belly looked like a soccer ball inside a clothes dryer... Which corresponds quite well with how it felt... I'm trying to get that soccer ball to not get bounced around so much and connect up better. You know, dantien... Or soccer ball in a dryer. Whatever works for you.

But I'm pretty sure I'm not a dryer and I know I don't have a soccer ball in my gut...

Carsten Möllering
08-09-2014, 01:47 PM
:)
You know, dantien... Or soccer ball in a dryer. Whatever works for you.
Yes! If it works for you: Wonderfull! Fine with me. Really.

It's just:
There are three dantien in the body. The are identically named because of there identical function. So "soccer ball in a dryer" cuts off the linguistic connection to between those three areas in the body. While arts like qi gong particularly try to get them connected in their practice.
Also the "soccer ball in a dryer" doesn't indicate the linguistic connection of the dantien to the practice of neidan. Which is the background of Ueshiba talking of the cross of yin/yang-kan/li.

Well, my lower dantian is a ball of a white shining weave. Thats the image, that works for me.
But just like your soccer ball it is personal, it is only my name for that thing.

Me, I like to understand things more.Yes. Me too! That is why I am studying the theoreticals aspects of aikidō, aiki and the related stuff so much.
Being a theologian I've worked all the time in the context of the healthcare system: Hospital, psychiatric hospital, facilities for the disabled ... So although I myself have no medical education, I had to learn a lot about how our body works extra occupational (? learning while doing a job).
Plus: I have a lot of qualified person to talk to in my aikidō context.
I is my experience that for a lot of, if not the most phenomena that are taught in the internal arts there are no scientific explanations by now.

It's not that I don't like to understand things more. But unlike your metallic example there are a lot of things we practice every day. But that can't be really translated to scientific language and understanding.

PS: My question was addressed to Erick. But thank you for your inspiring answer! :)

Erick Mead
08-09-2014, 02:52 PM
Yes.
Crazy thing is: They've got names allready. A quite rich vocabulary exists. For centuries. It's all there. And it is as precise as languages can be.
But: It expresses a (seemingliy) different paradigm not only of understanding the world and how it came into being but also of living within the world. So names like "pulling silk", "opening the body", "extending qi", "guiding qi", ... are not understood right away.
I'm investigating into this language for some time now. And it strike me literally every day anew, how clear, precice and workable this language is.
...
But I am curious why didn't you try to go the way towards the old texts, toward the different paradigm, toward the strange names and so on? Which approach to physical description has advanced human knowledge the furthest? By all accounts, the "traditional" approaches have come close to losing the transmission of key concepts and knowledge -- repeatedly - and in many arts. I don't deny their utility when understood their own terms -- but there are serious risks to consistent transmission.

Calling things by their right names, originally given to them hundrets of years ago. I wouldn't invest in phlogiston futures, if I were you...:D

I practice with some experienced and well educated body workers. When it comes to discussions about connecting those old terms to a scientific worldview, we don'we have interesting debates about the function of fascia in our body and we talk about the dynamic organisation of our body as a tensegrity construction.
Do you have this also in your explanatory models? Tensegrity is a clear aspect of human physiology. How that fact can be used - beyond its innate connectivity and resulting resonance aspects -- is less clear. Fascia have profound significance as do certain biomechanical inptus Hormonal cascades (oxytocin, histamine) -- modulate smooth muscle contraction creating stabilizing and unifying effects-- and these do reach some of Ueshiba's concerns with "Love-Budo" and the spirit of loving protection, as the mind has demonstrable affects on the body in these ways. Vibrations (furitama - tekubi furi) also cause such smooth muscle fascia effects (e.g. -- clenched hands often seen from raking or wood-splitting) and may tie the tensegrity sensitivity of the body as a static whole to the fascia action in manipulating structure. This area is very suggestive -- but not nearly as well understood or clearly shown as working the reflexive actions in the body.

Keith Larman
08-09-2014, 04:09 PM
It's just:
There are three dantien in the body. The are identically named because of there identical function. So "soccer ball in a dryer" cuts off the linguistic connection to between those three areas in the body. While arts like qi gong particularly try to get them connected in their practice.

And therein lies the reason why I promised myself to stop having these conversations. Fully aware of that. The description was one my daughter gave which I found rather humorous but wasn't intended to go much further than that. But we all tend to impute the meaning we want to what we see, hear and read. Even those of us who think we have the correct insights. Myself included.

In the end it does not matter to me all that much. The good thing is that this did remind me why I truly dislike these conversations. Too many crossed wires even when done in person. So I'll go back to my reading which is, ironically enough, late period Wittgenstein. I have been rereading that all while trying to finish a biography of Dietrich Boenhoffer. Gonna have to balance that out with something a little less, um, Germanic...

Carry on.

dps
08-09-2014, 05:35 PM
The series of photos Chris refers to demonstrate the body's reflexive reaction to becoming unbalanced and in fear of being harmed. It is called The Righting Reflex.

dps

Chris Li
08-09-2014, 06:15 PM
Not just theorizing ...being practiced for years and years..in different ways but valid all the same. We can train how we train and talk about it, here and other places. It is a discussion forum after all. A wonderful place to share ideas.

Actually, I was talking to Erick concerning his theories, so unless you've been practicing with him for years and years I'm not sure what your point is.

Sadly, not everything is valid, and not everything works - at all or as well.

Yes, everybody is free to train however they like, but that doesn't mean that all methods will lead to the same place - and there's nothing wrong with that. Not everybody wants to go to the same places.

As for sharing ideas - in the past you've protested vociferously when people of a certain outlook share ideas, so I'm not sure what you mean here either. Sharing ideas is fine, but that doesn't mean that everybody must agree - a discussion forum is just that, for discussions. If people want to post their ideas and share them without critique then the Internet has other types of venues for that.

Best,

Chris

MRoh
08-10-2014, 08:06 AM
I think calling things by the name they have in a special cultural context, does not mean that they do not exist somewhere else and can be described with other terms driving from other backgrounds.
In every part of the world people had to solve the same problems.
In medieval books about fencing, ( for example Talhofer, Liechtenauer) the instructions are similar to the use of the body in chinese arts. The coccyx is tucked under, the spine is straighten up, the body is connected an loaded like a bowstring.
In my opinion it seems very unlikely that only in china people found out how to use the potential of the human body and how the mechanics of the body work.

To bring it to perfection, and to combine it with fighting skills and spiritual development might be something that medieval knights belonging to a christian order also could have experienced.
The terms in which they described this, should differ from chinese language.

jonreading
08-10-2014, 12:58 PM
As an issue of ordering... I think we are starting to get into some transmission comments and away from the demonstration comments...

As a broad brush answer... Obviously, we are all still trying to figure out what's going on. For the most part, the current aikido people have trained within a tradition and curriculum for some number of years. Arguably, the system has not produced another O Sensei. Arguably, the system has not produced another Tohei, Shioda, etc. This may not be bad, but it is different. I find it interesting that some of our heavy weights are migrating away from "traditional" instruction and demonstration in an effort to illustrate and communicate what they are doing.

Is it really fair to commit to 30 years of instruction in order to practice aikido to a level of competence? We have some small number of individuals who understand and do aikido to an advanced level; do we want to constrain their instruction? Do you think they have 30 years to invest in your training to make sure you pick up what they are putting down? There's learning and there's training. I'm not sure if we aren't confusing "learning" aikido for "training" aikido. When I played baseball I learned how to throw, and run and field and hit. I then practiced those core skills for some number of years. Sure, I picked up tricks over the years, but guess what I always did?

At some point, we evaluate our training. Am I better than I was last year? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Comparatively, we can evaluate our progress against our sister dojos? Why did friend A progress faster than I did - we've been training just as long? Why can Karate friend B eat my lunch? She's been training for less time than I have? In the beginning, we'll find excuses - better instruction, more time, easier drive, more money, different values. Eventually, you either see beyond that or you don't.

Mary Eastland
08-10-2014, 01:11 PM
There is also the point that some people are looking for other than what they have because something is missing. An assumption is made that if it is missing from student A then Student B from another dojo must be missing it it too because it is Aikido after all.

As we see on this forum, Aikido means different things to different people. If ki is missing from your training and tradition it does not mean it is missing from say from say, Joe Curran's aikido. He does not seem to be looking for anything other than what he has. I bet he is as centered and as strong as a Mack Truck.

jonreading
08-10-2014, 07:46 PM
I believe we inherit the responsibility to seek the aikido we want to train. If your training is inconsistent with your understanding of aikido, then you have an obligation to resolve that inconsistency. Your physical skill is a representation of your understanding of Aikido. This is part of the "show me your wu shu", or as I learned it, "you can't hide who you are on the mat." Aikido can mean different things to different people. The problem is when what we think is not what we do.

Carsten Möllering
08-11-2014, 03:26 AM
... this did remind me why I truly dislike these conversations ...Sorry for that. I didn't mean to evoke bad feelings. I just like a lot to discuss linguistic and related issues. ;)

MRoh
08-11-2014, 02:20 PM
There's learning and there's training. I'm not sure if we aren't confusing "learning" aikido for "training" aikido.

Yes, there is learning AND there is training.

To have set oneself high standards requires continuous training. To maintain standards at a high level also requires very intensive training.
Many people draw a line under the chapter "training" to early and begin to teach.

To produce a Tohei ore a Shioda special circumstances are neccessary, they don't exist any longer.

Do you think they have 30 years to invest in your training to make sure you pick up what they are putting down?

Yes, my teacher had, and I'm glad.
After more then 30 years of trainig in different martial arts I still enjoy "normal" training, although other things I practice are growing, I continue to "move" as long as I can, because my body is used to it and needs this feeling.

My teacher tells us to train as much as possible, and to develop our body and quality of movement as far as possible and not to move like a retirement pensioner, also if we could throw people with small and effective movements just standing there and sending uke flying.
To be able to do this (what is also fun) does not mean that one has to stop moving and developing his ability to move to a higher level, ore from a certain age, to keep his level.
Many people cease before they really become good for whatever reason, thats always sad to observe.
The main issue for me is to avoid stagnation.

Erick Mead
08-11-2014, 07:35 PM
As an issue of ordering... I think we are starting to get into some transmission comments and away from the demonstration comments... In fairness, the whole IHTBF argument is from a position that transmission requires demonstration -- so I don't think they are really different discussions,... I think there is definite and valid point to that position -- I just don't think it is an all-consuming one... Mainly because I think that people also feel things that they do not understand, and things can happen to them that they are ill-equipped to "feel" in the conscious cause and effect sense.

It is in these areas -- areas in which aiki operates --that some objective applied physiology is -- IMO -- a non-negotiable. And the old systems agree with that approach. They approved of seeking this kind of knowledge. It is just that in most of areas of physiology and mechanics (not without some functionally significant exceptions -- acupuncture, perhaps) we have far outstripped any traditional knowledge of the body and its exploitable strengths and weaknesses. How can we not use that?

At some point, we evaluate our training. Am I better than I was last year? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Indisputably important. Comparatively, we can evaluate our progress against our sister dojos?
there's the rub. Compare what, exactly? And on what measures, qualitatively ?

"And in current rankings on the "IT" scale -- in the combined teams division:

-- Laughing Buddha dojo fell short of first place by a narrow margin to the incumbent champion Spastic Cranes -- the Buddhas losing 3 IHTBF's to the Cranes' dominant 5 IHTBF's

... and this despite prevailing in the preliminaries with a stunning 6 Intents upset to the Spastic Cranes uncharacteristically poor 3 Intents flop.

...And now in the acupuncture final -- still in progress -- Over to you, Bob ..."

:D ;)

jonreading
08-12-2014, 12:02 PM
I would agree, demonstration is a part of transmission and they both are part of the education process. The problem is when you have demonstration inconsistent with transmission, i.e., "I can do it, but I don't know how or why so I can't transmit it." Ikeda sensei uses the analogy of good [baseball] players who do not make good coaches. I think "IHTBF" is actually a claim that demonstration is part of transmission. I was only distinguishing the separation in context of the thread not going down the path of transmission, but remaining focused on demonstration. Sorry for the confusion.

In my previous post I referred to expectation of learning. I am too lazy to post them, but there have been many threads over the years on Aikiweb concerning the application of aiki in a variety of different circumstances. We talk about using aikido in life and we'll relate a story of how we used aikido in golf, or swimming, or flower arranging or any number of things. I am not sure that I buy the argument we cannot find commonality in application and compare success in other arts. If you can tell me you used aikido in calligraphy, you can tell me how you used aiki throwing a punch with a karate girl.

I think the problem is sometimes the metric is less-than-impressive. For example, I may play judo against an very good player. I will lose, but maybe I last 5 seconds instead of 3. Good randori may last 10 seconds instead of 5. There are metrics of success and there are metrics of success we want to use.

Going back to some demo material, I like it when demos reach out to common ground when demonstrating aiki. We all punch, we all push and we don't need to be experts to appreciate how that feels.

MRoh
08-13-2014, 03:46 AM
We all punch, we all push and we don't need to be experts to appreciate how that feels.

Really?
Manyt people in Aikido don't know how to punch correctly, and possibly never felt a hard punch.
If you have not felt, you don't know the difference between a boxing puch, a karate punch, a systema punch, ore how it feels to be punched by someone applying aiki.

There are punches that knock you out, some punches projekt you against the next wall, and others let you collapse where you stand, ore give you the feeling something is expolding inside your body.

We trained a technique in goju-ryu-karate that is a loosely looking punch with the heel of the hand to the stomach, done with a slight rotation from the hip. If you project youer force in a wrong way, uke stumbles back some steps and most of the Impact is lost, but maybe people say whow, thats power.
But if you do it wright, with connection to the dantien, and let the force "drop" on uke, uke collapses where he stands. It doesn't look like it feels, but it's really difficult.

Chris Li
08-13-2014, 05:09 AM
There is also the point that some people are looking for other than what they have because something is missing. An assumption is made that if it is missing from student A then Student B from another dojo must be missing it it too because it is Aikido after all.

As we see on this forum, Aikido means different things to different people. If ki is missing from your training and tradition it does not mean it is missing from say from say, Joe Curran's aikido. He does not seem to be looking for anything other than what he has. I bet he is as centered and as strong as a Mack Truck.

It certainly isn't difficult to make the argument that there was a problem in the transmission from Morihei Ueshiba. Stan Pranin did it (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/11/28/is-o-sensei-really-the-father-of-modern-aikido-by-stanley-pranin/), and Ellis Amdur wrote an entire book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982376200/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0982376200&linkCode=as2&tag=aikidsange00-20) that touched on the subject. Of course, that argument has also been hashed over on these forums repeatedly over the years.

It is understandable that, if true, this would be uncomfortable and difficult to accept to many with an investment in conventional Aikido that may span decades. One of the most common responses is to argue that the transmission may have stuttered in some lineages, but not others (usually one's own).

Is it true or not in the case of the people involved in this thread? I have no idea - I've felt a lot of people, but I've never felt a number of the people in this thread in person. I do know that some thousands of people have felt Dan and come away convinced, many of them posting their experiences on these very forums. Where are the testimonials for the others?

The arguments have been made, repeatedly over the years, my suggestion now is that people would be best served by going out and feeling all of the parties involved and deciding for themselves whether there's any meat on those bones.

Lastly, people may be interested in what happened when Meyer Goo, a former student of Morihei Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei did just that (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/finding-aiki-aikido-hawaii/).

Best,

Chris

jonreading
08-13-2014, 07:58 AM
Really?
Manyt people in Aikido don't know how to punch correctly, and possibly never felt a hard punch.
If you have not felt, you don't know the difference between a boxing puch, a karate punch, a systema punch, ore how it feels to be punched by someone applying aiki.

There are punches that knock you out, some punches projekt you against the next wall, and others let you collapse where you stand, ore give you the feeling something is expolding inside your body.

We trained a technique in goju-ryu-karate that is a loosely looking punch with the heel of the hand to the stomach, done with a slight rotation from the hip. If you project youer force in a wrong way, uke stumbles back some steps and most of the Impact is lost, but maybe people say whow, thats power.
But if you do it wright, with connection to the dantien, and let the force "drop" on uke, uke collapses where he stands. It doesn't look like it feels, but it's really difficult.

I am not contending that all people do know how to punch, but rather that we can all appreciate the effect of a punch in our bodies. To my earlier point, I am contending that we are responsible for what we know and finding out what we don't know. Anyone who works with children know that outward expressions like biting, pinching, pushing and striking are basic responses of outward expression that are learned behaviors very early on. If someone is not interested in learning the basics of striking, or experiencing striking from a variety of arts, they are limiting their education (by design or not). If they are limiting their education, the question I would raise is, "does this limited education affect the accuracy of the instruction I will consume from this individual?" Maybe yes, maybe no - But it should throw up a giant "caveat emptor."

To be specific, there are some aikido people who will demonstrate punches in that exact fashion. They play pool with your body and call their shots, "this one will go into your knee. This one will go into your back hip. This one will make you die in 3 days." These individuals use punching as a great learning tool and they can get you to feel how the punch works. After all, punching is just touching, fast, and with power. So is pushing.

Aikido is unique in that we let a lot of things go on under that large umbrella. I think some of those shenanigans have not improved aikido. We, as a community, have been very tolerant of those shenanigans with (I think) the hope that eventually things will straighten out. We have adopted an a la carte mentality that gives us the freedom to choose those elements of aikido that resonate with us. But, I think we have neglected some core elements in that process. Or, at least removed those educations to a remedial level.

The fact that you have to even make a comment about the level of proficiency of striking in a martial art is just an example of where we may be remiss in our core education. As a point of argumentation, I find it difficult to accept the finer points of aiki from someone who has difficulty demonstrating the basic points of striking. All of this going back to differentiating a skill from a system.

If we were talking academics, and I were to say, "I don't like division. I want to learn math, but I am going to skip division because it's tough and boring." At some point, a teacher would approach me and say, "Jon, you need to learn division. It's part of math and you cannot excel at math without knowing division." But, if I were to publish two math tests on division, one in which the student completed the exam without assistance and one where the student copied the answer from the back of the book they would both be correct and they would both show the right answer. But, each student would have a different level of proficiency not reflected on the test.

Of course, this is from the culture who statistically finds actors dressed in lab coats to be more trustworthy than actors who are not when advertising medical products. Even though the actors are not doctors.

MRoh
08-13-2014, 10:00 AM
After all, punching is just touching, fast, and with power. So is pushing.


There are different ways to generate power.
One problem is, that in aikido we have to rethink and forget our learnt behaviours.

Keith Larman
08-13-2014, 10:32 AM
It is understandable that, if true, this would be uncomfortable and difficult to accept to many with an investment in conventional Aikido that may span decades. One of the most common responses is to argue that the transmission may have stuttered in some lineages, but not others (usually one's own).

Well, I think there is another position here, one that is a bit more complex. I think there are many who feel that their particular "version" of Aikido represents an evolution that retained the parts that really mattered. In this case the discussion is further muddied by the belief that a particular group may in fact be doing things somewhat differently, but they feel what they are doing is both the essence of the original art but also going beyond it in to a new place, much like an evolution. So the position is "Of course we're not doing the same thing, we're doing what really matters!". And it is I think difficult to discuss because there is an assumed value judgement as to what were the critical things that make it what it was.

Of course this just circles back into the argument of incomplete transmission. But then again, we are also trying to read the mind of O-sensei to some extent to say what it was that he was really doing or what was "really" important to him.

Anyway, I've long made the argument that maybe the better position to take on these arguments is to ack that Aikido went in a lot of directions among the original deshi of O-sensei. Each of those developed their advocates and each of those groups represent a new line that took what they felt was important. Each of those groups also has tremendous value for what it is they teach evidenced by their large memberships and vociferous followers. Heck, I think this very branching and expansion of "what aikido is" is partly why it's so popular today. And why it is so difficult to talk about "what" it is. it is a lot of things today.

But maybe those of us going out and experimenting, cross-pollinating, and learning from everyone we can will maybe start to have a broader influence over time. I feel I'm still teaching the same art. But I also feel I have a 5-times larger toolbox to work from now. And a better understanding of what I'm trying to train *in their bodies* beyond just saying "extend ki" or something along those lines. I still say it, of course, but now I explain it better using the explanations I've always used. Just with additions here and there with additional perspectives to add in to help clarify. I've always stole what I could from other arts I've trained in and had the luck to be allowed to sit in on. And i hope those I train with will continue that as well.

I think the problem for many is that the idea that it is all of those often apparently contradictory things causes just too much cognitive dissonance for some. Some want it to be simpler. Some need it to be simpler because saying this is the *real* thing O-sensei was doing gives the "Good Housekeeping" stamp of approval to their practice. They want to believe O-sensei himself would approve of what they've done with "his" art because they're doing "what he really meant".

Of course the same observations apply to those working with Dan, or Ark, or Sigman, or Chin, or whomever. You fill in the blank with your favorite. Ellis did us all a favor by putting out a very well researched and compelling book on the topic although in the end you're still left with a lot of speculation and hypothesis. If you don't buy it, well, you don't.

Personally I've got zero issue with this stuff. I get out there with Dan and Toby in particular whenever I can even when I'm injured (which was probably not my best decisions with respect to my physical self, but hey, I learned stuff). I wish Howard Popkin would come out my way more often as well -- the guy is great, has the skills, has lots to teach, and is generous with it. And heck, I think Chuck and Aaron Clark are doing some of the best Aikido i've seen all while they're doing something else... But I also have no problem with most folk out their calling whatever they do Aikido. Let's be honest, Aikido has come to represent an art that is diverse and varied with versions that seem to be in direct conflict at times. So I see no need to reconcile them amongst themselves nor the need to critique any individual version apart from saying "Hmmm, that's not what I'd do."

In the end the arts and methods will speak for themselves. The methods that "work" (whatever that means) will find their way where they need to go. Other places they'll be locked out at the door because they're not right for that branch. Or they might die. Maybe it already has in Aikido. But maybe it is alive and well in various parts of the world. And I'm sure each person is doing their level best to keep what they feel is the real deal going. I think Dan's approach to teach what he does in a sort of "non-denominational" way is a god-send, at least for me. Teaching it as a body skill rather than as a fully realized form of budo. Those who want that body skill can learn it and use what they will. Those who feel they don't need it won't. That's cool. Over time it will speak for itself and maybe in 10 or 20 years we'll have this discussion again, albeit with me probably worrying about whether my new space-age levitating walker will allow me to do a little pole shaking in the back yard...

kewms
08-13-2014, 11:12 AM
FWIW, I know several fairly senior aikido teachers who've spent a lot of time working on Dan's stuff. I don't know what's going on inside their heads, but the observable results seem like they've found a way to integrate bits and pieces that have been there all along. Something like what happens in the sciences when you develop (or learn about) a theoretical basis to go with your experimental phenomenology.

Much of what he's doing *is* already there in aikido. The people who say "we already do that" are not wrong. It's just that, in many cases, you have the exercises without an explanation for why they are important or how they should be done. Or you have teaching visualizations without an understanding of what body structures they are intended to produce. Or you have people who can personally do some impressive things, but haven't been able to transmit the skills to their own students.

Dan's great contribution to the aikido community, IMO, has been vocabulary and teaching methodology more than specific skills. He's American. He speaks clear, unambiguous English and is able to describe exactly what he's doing in a way that other Americans can understand, emulate, and build on.

Katherine

Keith Larman
08-13-2014, 12:38 PM
Katherine:

Ah, yup. :)

In my case I can still feel the eye rolls of people from years ago, some I even shared in this thread. But I can say that as someone who teaches a bit himself I also feel the frustration of not being able to teach someone something I can feel in my body, something I can do, something I can repeat, but for whatever reason they just can't get it. And I feel a failure as a teacher when that happens. Part of me says "well, spend a whole lot of years practicing and maybe you'll get it -- you have to invest the sweat equity." But I often think that's really a cop out and an admission that we don't understand it, no matter how flowery and mystical it all sounds when we pontificate about this stuff.

I know and have trained with a number of folk who seem to enjoy the mystical aspect. They'll blather on about some verity or profundity, demonstrate something, then without anything approaching a roadmap for how to accomplish this feat they have everyone practice. Then they clap dramatically, sigh at the obviously dense students gathered at their feet, demonstrate it again on their compliant uke, and with nothing more than additional bumper sticker level Kwai Chang Cain pithy statement they send you off to fail again. So maybe it really is for the better that more and more people are saying "Hold on, wait a minute..." and refusing to accept that as the status quo.

Erick Mead
08-15-2014, 12:21 PM
... I also feel the frustration of not being able to teach someone something I can feel in my body, something I can do, something I can repeat, but for whatever reason they just can't get it. And I feel a failure as a teacher when that happens. Part of me says "well, spend a whole lot of years practicing and maybe you'll get it -- you have to invest the sweat equity." But I often think that's really a cop out and an admission that we don't understand it, no matter how flowery and mystical it all sounds when we pontificate about this stuff.

I know and have trained with a number of folk who seem to enjoy the mystical aspect. They'll blather on about some verity or profundity, demonstrate something, then without anything approaching a roadmap for how to accomplish this feat they have everyone practice. Then they clap dramatically, sigh at the obviously dense students gathered at their feet, demonstrate it again on their compliant uke, and with nothing more than additional bumper sticker level Kwai Chang Cain pithy statement they send you off to fail again. So maybe it really is for the better that more and more people are saying "Hold on, wait a minute..." and refusing to accept that as the status quo. I have come to wonder whether the "you must steal my technique" approach was developed as a (not atypically Japanese) face-saving maneuver -- resulting from this very same inadequacy of the traditionally available means of objective explanation and correction. It alone may explain the now well-recognized problem in transmission -- even in the first generation.

Carsten Möllering
08-15-2014, 03:21 PM
I have come to wonder whether the "you must steal my technique" approach was developed as a (not atypically Japanese) face-saving maneuver -- resulting from this very same inadequacy of the traditionally available means of objective explanation and correction.Maybe true in some cases, but not in general, I think.
Both my direct teacher aswell as Endō sensei are able to very clearly explain and teach - after you have stolen ...
Having to steal is a didactical device here.

PeterR
08-15-2014, 03:57 PM
Maybe true in some cases, but not in general, I think.
Both my direct teacher aswell as Endō sensei are able to very clearly explain and teach - after you have stolen ...
Having to steal is a didactical device here.

I always understood stealing of technique to mean pay attention in class. Observation is key.

Does not matter how clear the explanation - you still have to watch carefully.

Carsten Möllering
08-16-2014, 02:35 AM
I always understood stealing of technique to mean pay attention in class. Observation is key.Yes, observation, but it's still more feeling in our context. Watching is essential, but most things can not be seen with the eyes. For they don't happen on the surface but inside tori. So they have to be felt.
At least, that's the way how I experience it with Endō sensei and with the students of his when they teach. Endō sensei uses to go around during seminars and he tries to let everybody feel his technique, feel his body.

Anyway, you have to stea,l be it with your eyes or your feeling. That's how it starts.
When it becomes apparent that you got something, found out something, felt or saw something and you bring it up or show it - then you get correction, explanation, instruction ...

That's what I tried to say: You are taught the things which you stole, after you stole them.

So there is no contradiction between you and me, I think?

Gavin Slater
08-16-2014, 06:23 AM
From my experience 'stealing' the technique refers to a few things;
1- You have to question your teacher. If you don't ask the right questions you wont be able to understand.
2- There are two types of Daito Ryu, one in the dojo, and another one no one can teach you. You have to pay attention to everything, it is all training.

sakumeikan
08-16-2014, 10:33 AM
There is also the point that some people are looking for other than what they have because something is missing. An assumption is made that if it is missing from student A then Student B from another dojo must be missing it it too because it is Aikido after all.

As we see on this forum, Aikido means different things to different people. If ki is missing from your training and tradition it does not mean it is missing from say from say, Joe Curran's aikido. He does not seem to be looking for anything other than what he has. I bet he is as centered and as strong as a Mack Truck.

Dear Mary,
First let me say I am not familiar with a Mack truck. As a mature guy I am not a strong as I was in my early thirties.You are quite right I do not look for magic stuff.All I try to do is work with what I have to the best of my ability.I do feel that one has to follow the maxim 'Maximum effect /Minimum effort'. I must say that I try to build my personal aikido using as a guidIeline all the information that I have accumulated from my teacher and other teachers.No more no less.
If other people feel a need to try other methods of training and are happy to do so and get results, that is great.
Anyway, thanks for your blog.As always I hope you are well, Best Regards, Joe.

RonRagusa
08-16-2014, 02:21 PM
First let me say I am not familiar with a Mack truck.

Here ya go Joe. Happy motoring! :)

http://www.mouldcam.com/images/l-mack-trucks.jpg

Ron

sakumeikan
08-16-2014, 03:15 PM
Here ya go Joe. Happy motoring! :)

http://www.mouldcam.com/images/l-mack-trucks.jpg

Ron

Dear Ron,
Thanks Ron, the truck sure looks solid.Visited Syracuse many years ago, spent the night in a Truck Stop haven, All the truck drivers looked like cowboys, stetsons etc. Their rigs were enormous.My wife , young son and myself had the largest plate of food we ever ate.i have never forgotten this experience, Thanks Ron, brings back memories of past good times.Hope you are wel, Cheers, Joe.

Erick Mead
08-19-2014, 02:33 PM
Maybe true in some cases, but not in general, I think.
Both my direct teacher aswell as Endō sensei are able to very clearly explain and teach - after you have stolen ...
Having to steal is a didactical device here.I do not doubt that, in general -- the pedagogical method has a far longer history. But its application to this topic, both in Aikido and in DTR, is -- interesting... It speaks of a failure of concept -- in different ways in both lineages -- and only a narrow group that were predisposed to be able to "get it" without any such conceptual grasp or guidance. Admirable in achievement -- but also self-limiting ...

Erick Mead
08-19-2014, 02:39 PM
Dear Ron,
Thanks Ron, the truck sure looks solid.Visited Syracuse many years ago, spent the night in a Truck Stop haven, All the truck drivers looked like cowboys, stetsons etc. Their rigs were enormous.My wife , young son and myself had the largest plate of food we ever ate.i have never forgotten this experience, Thanks Ron, brings back memories of past good times.Hope you are wel, Cheers, Joe.It is always interesting to see the plain, ordinary, overlooked commonplaces of your own experience, as experienced by an outsider.

There is much similarly to be said about the "outsider" perspective on this subject matter, as well, and on many perspectives, I find.

nickk
08-21-2014, 06:13 AM
observation on this thread.

one poster's response to comments from Erick
Ah ha heh ha*cough cough* ow hah....
Oh man, sorry. Ahem!. <popping the spinal reflexes> AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Yeah no that ain't it.

I concur.

one poster's response to comments from Mary
Just to be clear, you're talking about George here, yes?
Best,


you did not respond Mary.

My comment is that the skills of the 'confident' individuals may be viewed on youtube and quite simply
they are not doing what is being discussed here. - whatever they think.
Of course anyone is free to pursue an 'aikido' of their own choosing but please do not mistake it for the
genuine article. Not all aikidos are created equal.

A key thought in my mind is always
'what skills were being demonstrated by O'Sensei that would attract high-level martial artists from other fields' ?

How many 4th Dan Karatekas or Judokas have you attracted to your aikido?!

"It had to be felt" means everything. Feel it and you will laugh and scratch your head...

and you will know that is what you want !

Cliff Judge
08-21-2014, 11:32 AM
Of course anyone is free to pursue an 'aikido' of their own choosing but please do not mistake it for the
genuine article. Not all aikidos are created equal.


Well these new blendings of Chinese martial arts with Daito ryu teachings are certainly exciting a lot of people, so I don't think people should get hung up on whether its "the genuine article" or not.

kewms
08-21-2014, 11:40 AM
Well these new blendings of Chinese martial arts with Daito ryu teachings are certainly exciting a lot of people, so I don't think people should get hung up on whether its "the genuine article" or not.

Indeed. Even O Sensei's direct students can't agree on what "the genuine article" even is.

Katherine

Chris Li
08-21-2014, 12:24 PM
Well these new blendings of Chinese martial arts with Daito ryu teachings are certainly exciting a lot of people, so I don't think people should get hung up on whether its "the genuine article" or not.

I often make Chinese references, so did Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda, there's nothing new about that. As for "blending" Chinese martial arts and Daito-ryu, that's just not happening (although you continue to allege it without ever having seen it firsthand). Dan does not do Chinese martial arts, Dan has never done Chinese martial arts, and, basically speaking, everything he does has direct roots in Japanese martial arts.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
08-21-2014, 01:37 PM
I often make Chinese references, so did Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda, there's nothing new about that. As for "blending" Chinese martial arts and Daito-ryu, that's just not happening (although you continue to allege it without ever having seen it firsthand). Dan does not do Chinese martial arts, Dan has never done Chinese martial arts, and, basically speaking, everything he does has direct roots in Japanese martial arts.

Best,

Chris

As far as Dan goes, exactly. A lot of people are into it and you make it sound solidly...er, is disingenuous the opposite of genuine? (Okay, no, that's not the opposite of genuine.)

But there is certainly quite a bit of blending with Chinese martial arts going on these days. Akuzawa comes to mind, as well as Sugawara Sensei. There are a bunch of people around my neck of the woods who have cross-trained in Chinese martial arts directly too.

Cliff Judge
08-21-2014, 01:54 PM
What I am getting at is there are a lot of options out there, you won't wind up with genuine aiki or even aikido but people really seem to enjoy these things.

Chris Li
08-21-2014, 02:14 PM
As far as Dan goes, exactly. A lot of people are into it and you make it sound solidly...er, is disingenuous the opposite of genuine? (Okay, no, that's not the opposite of genuine.)

But there is certainly quite a bit of blending with Chinese martial arts going on these days. Akuzawa comes to mind, as well as Sugawara Sensei. There are a bunch of people around my neck of the woods who have cross-trained in Chinese martial arts directly too.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what you're trying to say, but since neither Ark nor Sugawara are "blending" Daito-ryu with anything (nor do they say that they are) I guess we can figure out who you were talking about in the original post.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
08-21-2014, 02:56 PM
I'm having a hard time figuring out what you're trying to say, but since neither Ark nor Sugawara are "blending" Daito-ryu with anything (nor do they say that they are) I guess we can figure out who you were talking about in the original post.

Best,

Chris

Do you have a problem with my use of the word blending? I don't get why you object to that term being used for teachers who have deep backgrounds in both Chinese martial arts and aiki arts. (Which is, I guess, just Sugawara and Akuzawa at this point in the conversation.)

Chris Li
08-21-2014, 04:15 PM
Do you have a problem with my use of the word blending? I don't get why you object to that term being used for teachers who have deep backgrounds in both Chinese martial arts and aiki arts. (Which is, I guess, just Sugawara and Akuzawa at this point in the conversation.)

It wasn't the blending, it was the misrepresentation (not the first time) of what we're doing.

Ark, for that matter, has his primary influences in Japanese martial arts.

Best,

Chris

Alex Megann
08-22-2014, 02:26 AM
"It had to be felt" means everything. Feel it and you will laugh and scratch your head...

and you will know that is what you want !

Hi Nick,

Welcome to AikiWeb!

I agree mostly with what you say about "it has to be felt", but it still has its limitations. You can feel that what someone (I can make a guess as to who you are thinking of here!) is doing is out of the ordinary, and aspire to have similar skills, but it may well be that that person's teaching methodology - if that isn't too strong a description in some cases - is unlikely to get you there. There are some inspiring and skilful aikidoka out there who don't necessarily understand how they got their skills, or even really know how they do what they are doing now.

Alex

Cliff Judge
08-22-2014, 08:35 AM
It wasn't the blending, it was the misrepresentation (not the first time) of what we're doing.

Ark, for that matter, has his primary influences in Japanese martial arts.

Best,

Chris

I am not really sure what you mean by misrepresenting. I think it is laudable for a martial artist to cross-train in multiple systems, and synthesis of the different skills is simply something that happens.

The fact that your teacher has never received Chinese martial arts instruction is certainly news to me.

Erick Mead
08-24-2014, 06:26 PM
observation on this thread.

one poster's response to comments from Erick

Yeah no that ain't it.

I concur.
Well, you see, when the level of technical deliberation remains stuck with objective concepts in Western terms that do not rise above "that" and "it" -- any conclusion on that point remains wholly in the eye of the beholder.

Since all human bodies work much the same, I feel privileged to assume that the bodies in question work in those ways and are not comic book superheroes, bewitched wights, nor yet space aliens in disguise.

But let us try to lay out what we agree or disagree about "it and "that", shall we?

1. I know that the man was not levered off the floor into the air -- and leaving aside Willy Wonka's Fizzy Lifting Drinks -- it is simply not physically possible. (I will refrain from giving the moment diagram)

2. Therefore, the man's body was MADE to launch itself, involuntarily by suddenly actuating its lower extremity extensor muscle groups.

3. What makes those actuate involuntarily ? (I give credit that there is no divebunnying occurring -- or is it "bunnyhopping" in this case? ;) ).

4. Certain reflexive arcs in the body do that -- several of which are monosynaptic and occur subliminally to conscious kinesthetic awareness and voluntary motor control.

5. The timing of the spinal reflexes versus the voluntary motor arcs is off by an order of magnitude -- and the slower voluntary motor control here relies on forward model responses. Due to the slowness of conscious perception, the brain can suffer certain illusions of simultaneity, when resolving feed forward actions responding with resulting effects. Unless you unpack them analytically, what you think you "feel" about what happens and why can be, in part, made up of several white lies cooked up by your cerebellum and motor cortex.

6. What triggers those reflexive arcs?

7. Combinations of mechanical stresses applied to the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs.

8. What can accentuate those reflexive actions ?

9. Certain upper limb contractions prepotentiate these sensory organs and can magnify lower body reflex arc responses (e.g. -- Jendrassik maneuver) We do it all the time with nikkyo and sankyo, and host of other applications of kokyu tanden ho. [Some thought has been given to this somewhat odd association being possibly holdover wiring from our ancestors' brachiation days, before proto-humans left the trees, FWIW.]

Given this set of observations, do you have some more fully considered thoughts on an alternative physiology or mechanisms that would cause someone to conclude that any of the above points may be in error?

I can assume, I hope, that they rise somewhat higher that "That ain't it" ?

PeterR
08-25-2014, 04:26 AM
I think Erik's uber-technical description can be a bit off-putting but that's his kettle of fish to boil. I personally don't need the level of jargon to get where I want to go and I am pretty sure that's true for most of us.

BUT

"No that ain't it" just begs the question. "What is?".

From a physiological point of view (once you wade through the jargon) I don't think he is far off.

RonRagusa
08-25-2014, 08:41 AM
I think Erik's uber-technical description can be a bit off-putting but that's his kettle of fish to boil. I personally don't need the level of jargon to get where I want to go and I am pretty sure that's true for most of us.

BUT

"No that ain't it" just begs the question. "What is?".

From a physiological point of view (once you wade through the jargon) I don't think he is far off.

Erick's description of the demonstration being the result of reflex action may seem overly reliant on technical terms, but 5 or 10 minutes on Wikipedia looking up a few terms makes it a whole lot clearer. As to your question "What is?", if history is any indicator your request will be met with deafening silence or explanations as to why there won't be any explaining of "what is". :straightf

Ron

Erick Mead
08-25-2014, 09:11 AM
I think Erik's uber-technical description can be a bit off-puttingErick's description of the demonstration being the result of reflex action may seem overly reliant on technical terms, but 5 or 10 minutes on Wikipedia looking up a few terms makes it a whole lot clearer. As to your question "What is?", if history is any indicator your request will be met with deafening silence or explanations as to why there won't be any explaining of "what is". :straightf No, no. He's right.

I will refrain in future from technical jargon such as "Fizzy Lifting Drinks."

It is a known cause of serious controversy.

http://www.sydlexia.com/blogstuff/you_stole_fizzy_lifting_drinks.png

Chris Li
08-25-2014, 10:17 AM
Erick's description of the demonstration being the result of reflex action may seem overly reliant on technical terms, but 5 or 10 minutes on Wikipedia looking up a few terms makes it a whole lot clearer. As to your question "What is?", if history is any indicator your request will be met with deafening silence or explanations as to why there won't be any explaining of "what is". :straightf

Ron

Actually, some very detailed explanations have been posted by people who have shown that they can actually do these things, demonstrating the model in open rooms. Here's one (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=319572&postcount=93) that was posted some two years ago.

Does the jargon explain the same thing? Maybe - but that has yet to be shown, by Erick, or by anyone, no matter who good it may look on paper.

Best,

Chris

jonreading
08-25-2014, 11:54 AM
First, To dip into a Dan moment, I think there is a clear set of expectations and opinions expressed by some posters dead-set on pointing to "that ain't it," with regards to what he does. Frankly, there seems to be a lot of anxiety concerning what Dan says is aiki; I am not sure if this anxiety is expressed with the same vigor towards others. I think the "what is" question is a great one to answer with the same scrutiny given to the bunnies who dance with drums and ribbons as is given to the internal power models. The problem is (as Chris points out), that is not true - we give far more [disingenuous] scrutiny to what we don't want to hear. An inconvenience of fact, as it were.

Second, I want to continue to apply pressure to separate aiki and those who can demonstrate it. There are lots of ways to explain aiki, the problem is when we start changing the definition of aiki to meet our explanation... We have a name for people who teach about things but cannot do them... College Professors. :) Sorry, sorry - two in the family. I have to take my shots when I get the chance...

Gerardo Torres
08-25-2014, 12:29 PM
Being an engineer I am not one to shy away from a purely technical/scientific discussion. I wonder though if Aikiweb is the right platform for it. If somebody is utterly convinced that he can explain in purely scientific terms what IP proponents are doing (or some other complex biomechanical skill), then he should get serious and publish a paper in a proper engineering or scientific journal so it's put through the necessary peer review.

I like to think Aikiweb is mainly composed of a Martial Arts audience interested in MA-related discussion. Unlike purely scientific discussions, MA theories should be accompanied by at least a tenuous relation to practical skill/understanding (via direct proof, accounts, history, etc.), and show its value as a transmission model (show that said theory can be used to teach others, otherwise what is the point - for budo).

Erick Mead
08-25-2014, 02:59 PM
Being an engineer I am not one to shy away from a purely technical/scientific discussion. I wonder though if Aikiweb is the right platform for it. If somebody is utterly convinced that he can explain in purely scientific terms what IP proponents are doing (or some other complex biomechanical skill), then he should get serious and publish a paper in a proper engineering or scientific journal so it's put through the necessary peer review.If practitioners cannot even yet agree on a set of objective terms and parameters -- how can you even set up a measurable experiment ? That's all I'm I am working on -- the baby steps of useful description.

Besides, I have it on good authority engineers hate people 'cause they're messy and have no respect for their design spec's. ;)

Gerardo Torres
08-25-2014, 04:23 PM
If practitioners cannot even yet agree on a set of objective terms and parameters -- how can you even set up a measurable experiment ? That's all I'm I am working on -- the baby steps of useful description.

Besides, I have it on good authority engineers hate people 'cause they're messy and have no respect for their design spec's. ;)
OK that's nice - to aim for a common terminology - and all, but going back to my original post, I have two caveats:
1. That the person putting forth the terminology can actually do/understand the material in question. To be perfectly honest some of the very elaborate scientific descriptions I've read here are recipes for how "normal" bodies operate, the exact opposite of what something like IP is trying to achieve.
2. That such descriptions have any value for budo, which by definition has to be linked to practical results and consider transmission and learning curve. For example you could write a 500 page tome on how to lift an arm and yet be of no help whatsoever on how to learn to lift an arm in practical terms; imagine trying to explain something more complicated than that. Thinking and sharing ideas is fine, often fascinating affairs, but at some point a budo practitioner has to consider the real practical value of a theory or model.

That said despite the lack of a universal language for something like IP and aiki, from what I've experienced there doesn't seem to be a lack of success in experimentation or learning. I also think that through increasing interactivity and available information and training opportunities, its different styles and practitioners will continue to improve communication.

dps
08-25-2014, 04:45 PM
Actually, some very detailed explanations have been posted by people who have shown that they can actually do these things, demonstrating the model in open rooms. Here's one (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=319572&postcount=93) that was posted some two years ago.

Does the jargon explain the same thing? Maybe - but that has yet to be shown, by Erick, or by anyone, no matter who good it may look on paper.

Best,

Chris
As Ron said;

"Erick's description of the demonstration being the result of reflex action may seem overly reliant on technical terms, but 5 or 10 minutes on Wikipedia looking up a few terms makes it a whole lot clearer."

The same cannot be said for Dan' post as it is not a detailed explanation that could be clarified so easily.

dps

Erick Mead
08-25-2014, 04:52 PM
Does the jargon explain the same thing? Maybe - but that has yet to be shown, by Erick, or by anyone, no matter who good it may look on paper. I remember the linked quote when it was written. Perhaps so, perhaps not. But the parallels in choice of concrete images for observations from what are admittedly very different initial schemes of reference are -- in my mind -- very encouraging.

A few points drawn from that:

Aiki as a clash of forces (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=319572&postcount=93)
Ueshiba and generations of giants before him focused on power (soft power-not normal power) and solo training to achieve power...for a reason. It was the central pillar of how to make aiki happen. You need a profound "neutral" in order to demonstrate and manipulate force within you, in order to create change in the forces outside of you that are attempting to enter in. The more developed you are, the more those forces are never allowed to enter in and are dealt with by your making change in you on the supported surface. This occurs first by generating power from dantian in opposing forces, and then manipulating them. That is the floating bridge. If and when you encounter someone equal or superior, who might have the capacity to enter you, you then have management within and movement to deflect forces.
...
you to create a disruption using a balance of in/yo in internal and surface movement, that is all but impossible for them to track. This leaves them continually reacting to your movement and trying to respond to a non sourced change they cannot apply force on.

Key points:
-- Profound "neutral" to manipulate force within you,
-- Surface critical
-- create change in the forces outside of you
-- making change in you on the supported surface.
-- First generating power from dantian in opposing forces, and then manipulating them.
-- That is the floating bridge.

I have come to see the "floating bridge of heaven" Ame-no-Ukehashi as a distinct description of a striking natural event in its "divine" significance. That is, in traditional Japanese culture when something is divinized or treated mythologically, it becomes a generalized or abstract case or perfect exemplar (kami) of something that described in the imagery of the myth. We have rationalized this process in science in what we call natural laws, but as a cognitive process, it is not actually that dissimilar -- though the traditional mode is much less categorical in its references.

So what is this "Floating Bridge of Heaven"? Kojiki -- the Founder's source of generalized imagery -- says this:
All the Heavenly Deities commanded the two Deities, His Augustness the Male-Who-Invites and Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites, ordering them to "make, consolidate, and give birth to this drifting land." Granting to them an heavenly jewelled spear, they [thus] deigned to charge them. So the two Deities, standing upon the Floating Bridge of Heaven, pushed down the jewelled spear and stirred with it, whereupon, when they had stiffed the brine till it went curdle-curdle, 4 and drew [the spear] up, the brine that dripped down from the end of the spear was piled up and became an island.

Breaking this down we have:
"Male" -- Yang "who invites" (evokes a response) - Extension - Thrust
"Female" -- Yin "who invites" (evokes a response) - Contraction - Receiving
The hachi-riki pairs, etc.

We have also:

-- conventionally translated --"The jeweled spear"
-- pushed down from the Floating Bridge of Heaven
-- stirring the sea,
-- until it went "curdle-curdle"

The last is an onomatopeia, some say, and may also be rendered "a curdling sound" which the kanji justify, though this is not the more common view.

The "jeweled" part is an old word for what is now called tama, a stone gem in the comma-shape of one half of the spiral Taijitu. The shape implies a spiral action or form.

So in modern terms this might be rendered --

"a spiral shaft pushed down from a horizontal line of cloud that stirs the surface up, makes a god-awful noise, and when it pulls back up drops down solid objects in its wake."

Sounds like this.
http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/images/pages/N456/Waterspout.jpg

A tornado vortex begins as a solid body air rotation that gets sheared and turns back on itself -- it has not one but two spiral airstreams that structure and stabilize it -- one outer and descending - one inner and rising -- and at the ground both are at maximum in angular velocity. A vortex tube device (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Tube_de_Ranque-Hilsch.png)has the same configuration of separation of the air streams.

To tie this concrete imagery to the practical application noted in the original link Chris gave above -- when one is overstressed in compression from a push -- to push back just increases the stress of the push -- and reaction forces further complicate toppling stability.

Torque it a bit, though, by stretching or extending the coordinate tension spiral and the applied compression stress is routed in the other spiral -- and compression is relieved or compensated by the perpendicular tension stretch on the opposed perpendicular spiral. This is an applied version of the Poisson effect in torque. (Poisson effect is the tendency of most materials to extend out in perpendicular directions when squashed in one axis.)

The resultant reaction is "non-sourced" to the opponent because it is at right angles to his perceived action. There is no force applied to him directly at all -- it is quite correctly "in you" where the resolution of the imbalance of forces occurs. If you train for a natural or even reflexive torsional response to any input then the forces and resolving action are mainly carried on the surface.
Or in technical terms AIki -- inyo ho-- is thus the manipulation of the spiral mechanics of torsional shear stress (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-physical-model-structure-dynamic-3259/), rotational moment, and angular momentum. Simultaneous tension and compression spirals at right angles (+) (juji).
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t51rtn9gfqgjdma/Vert%20shear%20stress%20shaft.JPG?dl=0

FWIW -- torsional shear is a surface-dominated phenomena, with maxima of both perpendicular stresses at the surface and zero or neutral shear at the core of the torqued body.

And -- the shape of torsional shear stress -- and of multiple-pendulum harmonics (Lissajous curves) -- tight body (stress) and loose-limbed (movement) mechanics,respectively -- are all combined in one system of reference:
http://c.aikiweb.com/gallery_data/526/lissajous2.JPG

And since physicists like to work with spherical chickens in a vacuum -- (which in this instance merely means that our bodies have topological end points where these inverse internal perpendicular forces must ultimately resolve) -- roughly, this:
http://c.aikiweb.com/gallery_data/526/Spherical_Shear_stress_color.jpg

Erick Mead
08-25-2014, 04:55 PM
As Ron said;

"Erick's description of the demonstration being the result of reflex action may seem overly reliant on technical terms, but 5 or 10 minutes on Wikipedia looking up a few terms makes it a whole lot clearer."

The same cannot be said for Dan' post as it is not a detailed explanation that could be clarified so easily.

dps

But it has things to recommend it, too, just like the traditional modes -- which have valid (though misunderstood) content. And he has put it into useful practical effect, which cannot be denied. There is no either-or here. Everything can be made better.

Chris Li
08-25-2014, 05:05 PM
As Ron said;

"Erick's description of the demonstration being the result of reflex action may seem overly reliant on technical terms, but 5 or 10 minutes on Wikipedia looking up a few terms makes it a whole lot clearer."

The same cannot be said for Dan' post as it is not a detailed explanation that could be clarified so easily.

dps

I can't understand advanced mathematics in five or ten minutes with Wikipedia either, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worthwhile. The claim was that there is a "deafening silence", which is just false. Very clear explanations have been posted on a number of occasions - if they require a little work on the part of the reader, well, that's inherent in the difficulty of the material.

As numerous people have stated right here on Aikiweb - Dan is and has been demonstrating that the model works in practice. From Erick and most others I see a lot of fancy ideas - but where are the testimonials saying that there is any meat behind the theories?

Best,

Chris

dps
08-25-2014, 05:30 PM
I can't understand advanced mathematics in five or ten minutes with Wikipedia either, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worthwhile. The claim was that there is a "deafening silence", which is just false. Very clear explanations have been posted on a number of occasions - if they require a little work on the part of the reader, well, that's inherent in the difficulty of the material.

As numerous people have stated right here on Aikiweb - Dan is and has been demonstrating that the model works in practice. From Erick and most others I see a lot of fancy ideas - but where are the testimonials saying that there is any meat behind the theories?

Best,

Chris

Any demonstration without a clear and concise explanation is bordering on useless.
Most people would prefer an explanation that does not require learning phrases or terms in languages and cultures not their own. They simply do not have the time to invest. If it could be explained in terms and phrases already know or readily learned, that would be more useful in learning what is being demonstrated.

I would prefer an explanation I understand than a demonstration with no coherent explanation.
So how about a video accompanied by a understandable explanation?

dps

dps
08-25-2014, 05:36 PM
Very clear explanations have been posted on a number of occasions - if they require a little work on the part of the reader, well, that's inherent in the difficulty of the material.
Chris

If the explanations are very clear than why are there still people that don't understand what you are explaining.
If you want others to understand what you are selling then it is up to you to do the work to make the material less difficult to understand to the audience you are pitching to.

dps

Chris Li
08-25-2014, 05:46 PM
If the explanations are very clear than why are there still people that don't understand what you are explaining.
If you want others to understand what you are selling then it is up to you to do the work to make the material less difficult to understand to the audience you are pitching to.

dps

First of all, I'm not selling anything. Secondly, there are always people who don't understand things, no matter how clear the material. If you don't understand physics then you don't go online and ask people to spoon feed you - you study up. This is no different.

The material is out there, and people are teaching publicly - the rest is up to the people who are interested in it.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
08-25-2014, 05:49 PM
Any demonstration without a clear and concise explanation is bordering on useless.
Most people would prefer an explanation that does not require learning phrases or terms in languages and cultures not their own. They simply do not have the time to invest. If it could be explained in terms and phrases already know or readily learned, that would be more useful in learning what is being demonstrated.

I would prefer an explanation I understand than a demonstration with no coherent explanation.
So how about a video accompanied by a understandable explanation?

dps

There are plenty of words in Erick's explanation that most people won't understand. I'm not sure that I understand the difference - either way people will have to do some work.

If people just aren't interested enought to invest the time - then all that I can say is that I wish them luck.

Best,

Chris

dps
08-25-2014, 08:55 PM
There are plenty of words in Erick's explanation that most people won't understand. I'm not sure that I understand the difference - either way people will have to do some work.

If people just aren't interested enought to invest the time - then all that I can say is that I wish them luck.

Best,

Chris

The difference is the explanations to Eric's words are readily available to anyone via internet. The words used by yourself and others in the ip/is community are not.

It is not interest that prevents a lot of people from investing time, it is not having the time, money and having obligations.

A video with an explanation would be helpful to us who are interested not fortunate to have the time and money to travel.

dps

Chris Li
08-25-2014, 09:32 PM
The difference is the explanations to Eric's words are readily available to anyone via internet. The words used by yourself and others in the ip/is community are not.

It is not interest that prevents a lot of people from investing time, it is not having the time, money and having obligations.

A video with an explanation would be helpful to us who are interested not fortunate to have the time and money to travel.

dps

Erick's words may be easier (for you) to understand (I think they're more difficult, myself), but they're useless unless they're going to take you where you want to go, and that's something that neither Erick nor anybody else has been able to demonstrate.

Most of the basic literature for internal arts is available on the internet, for those who put in the time to do the research. Yes, even the words used by the IP community. Quite a lot of it is here on Aikiweb. I published a number of articles on it myself. And even Morihei Ueshiba laid things out quite clearly, IMO, if you put in the time to study what he said, and quite a lot of that has been translated and is easily available.

Videos aren't going to help - there's plenty of video of Morihei Ueshiba (and other well known internal-type guys) and that hasn't settled anything yet.

Other than that - you have to go get it - I wouldn't think that I could learn Judo without going to meet a Judo guy, no matter that all of the information is publicly available for free.

If someone's really interested, they'll go get it - how much time and money have you spent on training over the years? How much time and money do you continue to spend each year? If you wanted to, you could convert that into a trip to see Dan or Ark or Sam or Mike or CXW, or whoever....if you really wanted to.

Every workshop we have here people fly in from around the world looking for it - last time we had folks from Japan, Thailand, Australia, and more, - if you're in Ohio then you're no more than a couple of hours away in your car, not 18 hours and two international flights away as some of the folks that come here are. It's all publicly available, for those who want it.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
08-25-2014, 11:13 PM
Actually, some very detailed explanations have been posted by people who have shown that they can actually do these things, demonstrating the model in open rooms. Here's one (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=319572&postcount=93) that was posted some two years ago.

Does the jargon explain the same thing? Maybe - but that has yet to be shown, by Erick, or by anyone, no matter who good it may look on paper.

Best,

Chris

I have never understood why you have considered this or any post of Dan's to be a "detailed explanation." It is basically a soup of non-concrete terms describing difficult to imagine processes.

"You need a profound "neutral" in order to demonstrate and manipulate force within you, in order to create change in the forces outside of you that are attempting to enter in. The more developed you are, the more those forces are never allowed to enter in and are dealt with by your making change in you on the supported surface."

"Moving in accordance with in/yo means you now have a supported neural tangent point that is supported from dantian -in itself that is created in a balanced state- that now allows you to create a disruption using a balance of in/yo in internal and surface movement, that is all but impossible for them to track."

"Add to this the ability for explosive force (force that need not cause any harm at all) and you have a nice package that is devastatingly effective."

I am sure this jargon makes perfect sense to people who attend Dan's seminars, but not to the rest of us. I can't even tell if there is internal consistency to the way he uses terms. It seems like supported and neutral have two different shades of meaning in just the part that I quoted. And I don't know what any of these words actually refer to.

What Erick wants to do is to figure out a way to describe internal power in a way that does not require attending the seminar and drinking the Kool-Aid. This is a goal that transcends IHTBF. You are missing the point if you think Erick hosting a seminar where he would give physical demonstrations of his terminology is where this goes.

To be clear, I don't think Erick's approach is appropriate for martial arts training. Objective analysis leads to objective training methods that foster objectively measurable skills. How do you objectively measure a student's ability to use their musculature in a new way? Is internal power something you can measure in terms of foot-pounds or newtons, without another human body to operate on?

And this is just my opinion but we're all supposed to be doing Budo here - improving ourselves through earnest effort and all that. Figuring out how to drink when you are led to water is part of that. Carsten said something a couple of weeks ago that I really liked:


I think what you understand as imprecise, vague or ambiguous actually was intended. This language is a vehicle of transmission of knwoledge in itself. It is my actual experience that most important parts of the transmission get lost when it ist "demythologized" by converting it's meaning into only physical aspects.

Important parts of the transmission get lost, I think it is the part where the student discovers their own knowledge rather than having the work done for them.

(But then again...it would be nice if we could at least agree on a broad categorization of aiki. My teachers explain it as an effect, not a "skill" and definitely not a "power." )

Chris Li
08-26-2014, 02:25 AM
I have never understood why you have considered this or any post of Dan's to be a "detailed explanation." It is basically a soup of non-concrete terms describing difficult to imagine processes.

Well, there are any number of advanced academic texts that would make no sense to me - but that's not the fault of the material, it's my fault, my level of knowledge that's insufficient. FWIW, I've spoken to any number of non-Dan related internal folks who have no problems understanding what he's talking about, which is actually coached in very classical and widely used terms.


What Erick wants to do is to figure out a way to describe internal power in a way that does not require attending the seminar and drinking the Kool-Aid. This is a goal that transcends IHTBF. You are missing the point if you think Erick hosting a seminar where he would give physical demonstrations of his terminology is where this goes.

No need for Kool-Aid, at least not around here. I understand what Erick is trying to do, my point was that it's like someone who doesn't know how to cook writing a cookbook. They wouldn't even have a basis from which to start.


(But then again...it would be nice if we could at least agree on a broad categorization of aiki. My teachers explain it as an effect, not a "skill" and definitely not a "power." )

I can't recall anybody defining it as a "power". People in Aikido and Daito-ryu define it as an effect, IMO, because they usually don't have the language to express a definition.

Since it's something that some people can do after some amount of training - and certainly not something that everybody on the street does (whether you ask Daito-ryu or Aikido folks), I don't see how you get around the "skill" part.

Best,

Chris

Carsten Möllering
08-26-2014, 05:26 AM
I am sure this jargon makes perfect sense to people who attend Dan's seminars, ...This "jargon" makes perfect sense to people who practice certain koryū, certain lines of daitō ryū, certain forms of qi gong, tai chi, bagua ... and other ICA. Using a slight different dialect it makes sense to lots of body workers, physiotherapist, and the like. It makes sense to people who are educated in traditional Japanese or Chinese healing methods.

This "jargon" is used in uncountable books and documents. And it was used for centuries now. Sure, it is a language that has to be learned. But it's a language that can not only be replaced by the "jargon" in which Erick talks.

I have a lot of very intense discussions with physicians and body workers about this issue. They understand this "jargon".
I have a whole bookshelf with literature, written in this "jargon".

And I don't know what any of these words actually refer to. This was true for me, when I started to learn the language you are speaking and using here in this forum. Aber ich habe versucht, deine Sprache zu lernen, damit ich dich verstehen kann. Sure, I'm not perfect ... but at least communication became possible, weil ich mich bemüht habe, herauszufinden, worauf sich die Worte, die du benutzt, beziehen. Um zu verstehen, was du meinst.

If you don't know the technical terminology because your are not well-read in a special subject, you simply have to learn. There is only little chance to use a different jargon to express the same things with the same accuracy.

What Erick wants to do is to figure out a way to describe internal power in a way that does not require attending the seminar and drinking the Kool-Aid. This is a goal that transcends IHTBF. ...He does not reach this goal. Because his jargon does not apply to what he is trying to describe.
Knowledge of the use of tissue like fascia, the connection and working of myofascial meridians and the like still is meager. And it is my experience that physiotherapists are watching what the internal arts do, to get a deeper understanding of what is possible. Even if you can't really explain, how it is working by now.
Well, and they often ask to experience how it feels ... ;)

phitruong
08-26-2014, 07:13 AM
The difference is the explanations to Eric's words are readily available to anyone via internet. The words used by yourself and others in the ip/is community are not.

It is not interest that prevents a lot of people from investing time, it is not having the time, money and having obligations.

A video with an explanation would be helpful to us who are interested not fortunate to have the time and money to travel.

dps

i thought i posted Mike Sigman blog awhile back, http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21855. the information is on the internet. he got crayon pictures and video and so on and so forth. quite a bit of details on the how and why and what and so on. how much more do you want? anymore than that would be spoon feeding.

as far as time, money and obligation go, many of us do have them, in spade. *playing the violin softly in the background*

most of aikido seminars, some by very high rank aikido folks, had been a waste of my time and money. so far, none of the ip/is seminars that i went to was a waste.

Cliff Judge
08-26-2014, 10:23 AM
This "jargon" makes perfect sense to people who practice certain koryū, certain lines of daitō ryū, certain forms of qi gong, tai chi, bagua ... and other ICA. Using a slight different dialect it makes sense to lots of body workers, physiotherapist, and the like. It makes sense to people who are educated in traditional Japanese or Chinese healing methods.

Ah. This is where I will once again slowly edge towards the door, if we are saying that Dan's rambling, differently-coherent forum posts are the true speech of the Chinese classics.

Kind of reminds me of that episode of Star Trek the original series, "The Omega Glory," where the Enterprise crew finds themselves on a planet of people who worship the US Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the US Constitution but do not understand what they actually mean.

Cliff Judge
08-26-2014, 10:32 AM
I can't recall anybody defining it as a "power". People in Aikido and Daito-ryu define it as an effect, IMO, because they usually don't have the language to express a definition.

Since it's something that some people can do after some amount of training - and certainly not something that everybody on the street does (whether you ask Daito-ryu or Aikido folks), I don't see how you get around the "skill" part.

Best,

Chris

I will just invite you to give this very thread a re-read, plenty of folks asserting quite stridently that aiki and IP are "power."

If Aiki is an effect, then you can have skill in causing it. You might even have "body skill" in causing it. But there can be some problems when you confuse the cause for the effect. For example, some people seem to think that aiki doesn't happen until contact.

Chris Li
08-26-2014, 11:00 AM
I will just invite you to give this very thread a re-read, plenty of folks asserting quite stridently that aiki and IP are "power."

If Aiki is an effect, then you can have skill in causing it. You might even have "body skill" in causing it. But there can be some problems when you confuse the cause for the effect. For example, some people seem to think that aiki doesn't happen until contact.

You're confusing IP and power, firstly, and secondly I don't accept your premise that all power is monolithic, or anathema.

I haven't seen anybody here asserting that aiki doesn't happen until contact (it's easier to discuss what happens after contact, of course). Enough with the straw men?

Best,

Chris

MRoh
08-26-2014, 11:09 AM
There is only little chance to use a different jargon to express the same things with the same accuracy.


In every culture people expressed the same things with words and terms that originated from their own social environment and tradition.
In every part of the world myths describe the origin of the universe, how heaven and earth seperated, but use their own words and pictures, and also in one and the same cultural context meanings have changed, having been subjected to several external and internal influences.

How I always have stated, in their deepest inner being and in their hearts all people are the same and search for the same answers, but are educated in different cultural and social environments.
Human bodys follow the same laws everywhere in the world, so how they work can certainly be described in qualitative terms from the respective culture, apart from the fact that all words, terms ore jargons are unseless, untill no personal instruction happened.

Wheather one would read Dan's or Erick's words, ore a book like transparent power (what is completely useless because the author page by page talks around the bush), Takemusu Aiki ore other books, it does not help him if he has no bodily experience ore instruction as a base to build on.
Heaving a base in a special cultural context of course is unseful to understand writings that originate from this context. but it is not strictly neccessary.